Losing ourselves to perfection

Along with the recent material design guidelines, developers at Google have released a new version of the Roboto type family. Changes to the font include tuning to work across more screen sizes and conditions, from watches to desktops, televisions to cars. nearly every glyph from the typeface has been tweaked and updated in some way.

‘We see Roboto as an evolving type family and plan to continue to change and update it as the system evolves,’ explains Googler Louis Gray. ‘It used to be that a type family was designed once and then used without change for many years. Sometimes an updated version was released with a new name, sometimes by appending a ‘neue’ or ‘new’. The old model for releasing metal typefaces doesn’t make sense for an operating system that is constantly improving. As the system evolves over time, the type should evolve along with it.’

Which is all well and good – and to be fair is an intelligent approach to rendering type in the digital age. However, how will an evolving font system effect your website design as the font ‘matures’? There’s a good chance that the site in question will be refreshed long before the font has evolved enough to be radically different from the original. It does however raise the question; how will the possibility of future websites autonomously evolving, based upon pre-determined algorithms (and eventually AI), change your design creations? This is purely speculative, but brought to its logical conclusion you have to ask; will we end up with an homogenised internet? Will diversity and identity ultimately be sacrificed for functionality or will we always want to look just a little bit different to the site next door?