Most GTK themes, including Ubuntu’s Light themes, currently use a single font — one typeface in one size and one weight — for nearly all interface elements. This makes some things harder to see than they should be, some things larger than they should be, and generally looks monotonous.

To fix this, we should evaluate what exactly Ubuntu does, what other operating systems do, what would look most beautiful, and how we will achieve it.

What Ubuntu 10.10 does

What other operating systems do

Windows 7

The Windows User Experience Interaction Guidelines specify 13 font styles, using one typeface in four sizes, two weights, and four colors:

  • Title bar text
  • Main instructions
  • Secondary instructions
  • Normal text
  • Emphasized text
  • Editable text
  • Disabled text
  • Links
  • Links (hover)
  • Group header
  • File name in content view
  • Document text
  • Document headings

Mac OS X

The Apple Human Interface Guidelines for Mac OS X specify nine font styles, using one typeface in five sizes, two weights, and one color:

  • System
  • Emphasized system
  • Small system
  • Emphasized small system
  • Mini system
  • Emphasized mini system
  • Application
  • Label


The Apple Human Interface Guidelines for iOS specify four system font styles:

  • label
  • button
  • system
  • small system.


What we should do

Since Ubuntu Font Family 0.70.2 we have available:

  • 1 typeface, containing 8 fonts:
    • 4 weights (Light, Regular, Medium, Bold), each in
    • 2 styles (Regular, Italic)
    • infinite sizes
    • 16 million colours

Random thoughts

  • The Title is currently bold, which makes it very heavy compared to the content. It possibly wants to be the least distracting, rather than the most distracting.
  • The QuickLists are currently regular, but possibly want to be a bit warmer, so perhaps Medium.

InterfaceFontVariation (last edited 2012-04-23 09:17:22 by mpt)