Open Sans, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways.

If you’re sharp-eyed, you’ve noticed that we recently adopted Open Sans as our default typeface across WordPress.com.

Type wonks know that Open Sans is a humanist sans-serif typeface. It’s elegant and sophisticated, yet modern. It’s beautifully legible, offers an excellent reading experience, and has a superior typographic range that includes accents, non-Latin characters, and more.

Click on the image below to see a before and after screenshot of the WordPress.com About Us page. The previous incarnation that uses Helvetica/Arial is on the left. Behold Open Sans, on the right:

Open Sans, designed by Steve Matteson, Type Director of Ascender Corp, isn’t just a pretty (type)face: it’s free and open source, just like WordPress! It was optimized for print, web, and mobile interfaces. We know you’ll love it as much as we do!


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Krista

96 Comments

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  1. Darin Hagre (@hagre)

    Ah, the beauty of simplicity and modern elegance! Great choice, WordPress design team!

  2. Kate

    It’s beautiful. I’m thrilled. Good work, guys!

  3. theinsurist

    Night and day! Love a good sans serif font. Always have, always will.

  4. Paul Handover

    Well done! It’s a lovely typeface.

  5. Adelle Farrelly

    I like it in the screenshot, but that isn’t how it looks on my laptop! It looks all blotchy to me :( (especially the “i”s and “l”s)

    • Matt Thomas

      If you’re using a Windows PC, make sure that ClearType is enabled (it’s on by default in Windows 7). ClearType will make a ton of difference in the way that all webfonts, including Open Sans, are rendered. If that doesn’t help, post a message on our forums with more information on your system and browser so we can troubleshoot.

  6. Overwhelmed By Joy

    Thank you for making the change. It is much easier to read Open Sans.

  7. 3arn0wl

    Open Sans looks really clean and modern: I like it! Good choice. (Just downloaded it myself, and it might well become my font of choice! :D )

  8. Ebonstorm

    When can we expect propagation out to blogs? A rough estimate is all I am asking for…

    • Matt Thomas

      This only affects the public portions of WordPress.com like our homepage — fonts on your blog won’t be changed. The fonts on your blog are decided by your theme, or you can choose your own fonts with the Custom Design upgrade.

  9. leinotho2012

    Congrats WordPress Team. Creations who deserves Hi 5. From the @leinotho team writers.

  10. Izabela Rodziewicz (@irodziewicz)

    I’m using Open Sans lately on most of my projects as an alternative to Helevtica and I love this beautiful and simple typeface! Great choice!!

  11. VP

    Interesting. However, studies have shown verdana and trebuchet are more readable online.

  12. Ben Reynolds

    Beautiful! Nice choice!

  13. Nyrhalahotep

    Lovely, simplistic yet elegant choice. It certainly reads well, kerning is nice, all together a great typestyle! Kudos crew!

    Bryan (Nyrhalahotep) Hardbarger

  14. timethief

    I’m visually challenged and I find this font to be readable.

  15. christrocks

    Never really thought font would have made that much of a difference, but this looks pretty great! :)

  16. charlesberry101152

    I love the appearance I can”t wait to try in my blogs. So much easier to read.

  17. Patrick

    I am afraid it is too thin for my poor eyesight, a struggle to read even with glasses.

  18. Annette Lawson

    I love it

  19. avstron

    This is so great, I immediately noticed and started wondering which typeface was that! Awesome

  20. dmtanterakeramas8

    Yes agree it looks nice

  21. fransiweinstein

    Have noticed it. Gotta say I prefer Helvetica. Sorry.

  22. Kojiki

    Looks very elegant and modern….

  23. Lois

    Subtle and easy on the eye, restful to read!

  24. earthriderjudyberman

    A nice clean look. Like it.

  25. Ann Marie Woolsey-Johnson

    Font geeks rejoice!!!!

  26. george-b

    Nice barb-less Sans serif / sans souci) characters: Still like to call that barb-less.

    Thanks,

    George.

  27. Ellen Grace Olinger

    Very nice. Thank you, Ellen

  28. Niko

    Yes, I definitely love it!

  29. Robert Seth Vorisek

    I completely disagree. I was a graphic Designer for 35 years and have always found that for large blocks of copy, serif typefaces are easier for the eye to distinguish. That’s why you don’t see many books printed with sans serif typefaces, and when you do see it, it just looks…off. More examples are newspapers and dictionaries. It may be that we are just more familiar with serif faces, but I only use a sans serif when I’m using it for a headline or to make a point, otherwise, it confuses the eye. being dyslexic myself, I find the serif faces give each character more difference and I’m able to pick out individual letter with more ease. And as a personal style preference, I think sans serif faces just look cheap. Sorry.

  30. mickisuzanne

    Clean and appealing, I like it!

  31. UrbanMommies©

    It is very impressive!

  32. oumissa

    Nice, innovative.

  33. vic@cakebook

    I love it – Thanks!

  34. FranYo

    I like it! You’ve Open(ed) Sans my eyes to the improvements a new font can make. This example page is much more fresh and contemporary.

  35. wordsmith818

    I honestly cannot tell the difference. It was sans serif before and still is. Not quite as dark. So what? If you hadn’t broadcasted it, no one would notice.

  36. wordsmith818

    Except for the heading, that is.

  37. Joel Emmanuel

    The font’s okay, readable and simple. Simplicity is beauty. But there are much other fonts that are quite more ‘attractive’. But overall, Open Sans is fun to use :) Good job, WordPress!

  38. satchcar

    “We know you’ll love it as much as we do!”
    Well. . . no, I won’t. It has no SERIFS, dammit! I’m with Brother Vorisek on this one: Readability, especially in tiny font sizes, demands a Roman font. Try reading baseball statistics in Helvetica versus Times Roman.

  39. musingmar

    Love the simplicity and clarity of this font! It lets the words speak for themselves.

  40. jillinois

    Much easier to read… Iike it :)

  41. kawaglyhm

    Simple, open, clean, easy to read…beautiful. Good job.

  42. Marcin Lentkowski

    About time!

  43. Steven

    I have to say I don’t like it. I really hate simple things – its another word for STUPID. The font is harder to read. the font has little curves and its really just artsy and overstylish. I suppose WP doesn’t care about people loosing their vision with harder to read fonts. People do in fact age over time, and these fonts don’t help.

    To be frank all these SANS typefaces are really overrated.

  44. phreedomphan

    I’m sorry! Maybe it’s my eyes or maybe it’s my browser, but I couldn’t see any difference.

  45. evaschicker

    Nicely done. I especially love it in the body copy. It is easy to read, easy on the eyes, and looking very contemporary.

  46. emagcodeshake

    Robert Seth Vorisek, You are only partially right ;) Also, sorry…
    It has long been known that serif fonts used in print and on the web without serifs. And all because of a difference in the perception of the eye of information (text) that we see on the printed material (when the light is off), and on the screen. I understand what you are – because also worked in magazines and on the web. And I fully support the author of this article. ‘Open Sans’ not only free, perfect looks on the screen (which is very important), but it is also multilingual. What is very important for the web. (Sorry my English ;)) I hope all understood me)

  47. Angus Miranda

    Is it just me or does it look a little blurred?

  48. abramkj

    It does look a bit thinner than the previous font, but I’m a fan all the same.

  49. judisue

    It’s not really all that different though, is it? I like it well enough but I do think it will be much more difficult for the visually impaired to read & work with.
    Maybe it’s just my laptop but the text looks thinner and paler than before. I can probably get along ok with it but I do hope you will change it again, if you should get lots of co,plaints from bloggers with eyesight difficulties.

  50. eof737

    Open Sans, Count not the ways … we love thee anyway. :-)

  51. sevennotesofgrace

    I first noticed the change on my mobile wordpress app. even before you announced it! I had a look in Custom Design but I don’t see it listed there. Will it become an option?

  52. tom

    Beautiful, love it!

  53. Irfan Hussain

    I had noticed it the moment I saw the new wordpress home page. This is a real neat font. And looks more professional.

  54. katharinetrauger

    Did notice and do like. :)

  55. panchalkalpesh

    Too good… This will surely improve readability making it clean and clear! :-)
    Thanks to all in development…

  56. alexandrakainalainen

    Earlier The Times was the one of the most readable typeface, but that is much better and suits for every media!!!

  57. Emmanuella

    Simple and clean, but sweet. ;) I like it!

  58. seoprofessional0

    Looks very elegant and modern….

  59. David Larsson

    Great chioce, for bodytext that is. But please keep using Georgia for headings, in my opinion it’s part of the WordPress soul.

  60. misspiggielovestoeat

    The font can ‘make’ or ‘break’ a page, it’s an important key feature that often gets overlooked.
    Being excited by font, oh it’s so nerdy, I love it.

  61. lomoherz

    i knew it! ;)

  62. dinaleah

    Open Sans needs some kerning work. It jars the eye of the seasoned graphics professional (mine). I will not use it.

  63. hapientia

    I generally like sans serif fonts, but in this case I personally don’t find it the best solution. I too have the issue with confusing “i” and “l” and the letters in the body look “dirty”, not well-defined, and I’m on win 7 on chrome which is supposed to look good.
    And the serif font in the headline was looking more elegant than now. But it’s a matter of personal preference, since wp is the coolest thing since cms systems.
    If I will manage to get the font to look clean, I’ll be happy. Then the rest doesn’t matter if it doesn’t affect my themes.

  64. Rao Dao Zao

    ClearType doesn’t work for my eyes at all, and it never has. Now the stats panels etc are basically unreadable — an option to switch back to a non-ClearType font would be lovely.

  65. Roger Moss

    As a trained graphic designer and typographer I applaud your choice of typeface – but it’s emphatically not a whole new design. It’s a subtle tweak of Humanist, which was lifted from Eric Gill’s classic, Gill Sans. And serif fans might care to check out another of Gill’s classics, Perpetua…

  66. harrybeckhough

    agree, so suggest general adoption

  67. MrsUniversum

    So much better and easier to read nowadays. Thanks!

  68. SmilingCat01

    I love the changes. I always wanted to have this kind of font. I don’t like the Times New Roman font. It makes it all ancient and stuff. Good work though. LIKE!!!

  69. shesmiddleagingdisgracefully

    Open Sans …. gives the whole page an open feel – just like it says on the tin! Reading Patrick’s concern about his eyesight, I wonder if its worth seeing if a .0something added weight would make a tiny but magical difference to those with sight struggles? VP who cites “studies” that recommend other typefaces – the best study of all is being brave enough to try something new, gauge response and go from there. I reckon WordPress, you’ve got this pretty spot on – marvelous!

  70. Johnny Nowhere

    You’ll forgive me, but In stark contrast to a few of the above posts, t’was the first thing that I noticed upon publishing my very next article, which I’d lovingly articulated in elegant Georgia font, only to be momentarily defaulted into Open Sans hell. I must say that I was appalled. Simplicity is the bleach of life, and Open Sans is an attempt at artificial perfection, a sad, lifeless and anemic font. Georgia, by comparison, is a warm fire on a snowy, moonless night.

  71. Editor

    Sorry to rain on your parade, but WordPress is not free. I would respectfully suggest that its customer service was revised and received as much attention as a font does.

  72. iqu, llc

    with regards to the before and after…left and right do not apply on the page…it is either top or bottom…can i assume open sans is the bottom and Helvetica/Arial on the top?

    • Krista

      Yes, the body copy on the image on the left contains Helvetica/Arial. The body copy on the image on the right uses Open Sans.

  73. Keelan Foley

    I’m still undecided between the two

  74. McEff

    I agree with the graphic designer above. Serifs are there for a purpose and that purpose is character recognition. I’ve worked in newspaper design for 20 years and the golden rule is use a serif typeface for large blocks of text. Readers’ eyes tire more easily with a sans face because character recognition becomes harder. For captions, panels, small posts, design features, headlines, the new sans face is ideal and elegant. But if you’re producing posts that are text-led, then choose serif every time.

  75. ambigram0

    I write better with certain fonts than others and I don’t think I’m the only one. Sure, it’s probably psychological but I’m glad my typing fingers and my brain likes the new font!

  76. nihow

    I don’t like it. It is way too thin, especially on a retina screen. This is partially a design problem – there needs to be more use of contrasting weights to help distinguish the hierarchy of information. The pair kerning looks amateurish, but maybe this is a browser rendering issue. The letterforms are reminiscent of some of the more awful sans serifs of the 1980s; don’t get me started on the numerals.

    Historicity should play a part in typeface choice for any project; the helvetica family, while bland, ubiquitous and a bad choice for body text, at least speaks of “elegant, well-architectured” and considered design. Open Sans was designed to enhance the readability of body text, but it just looks awful in just about every other instance.

    This looks like a work in progress — I note that there are several places where helvetica is still being used, and my wordpress.com dashboards are still using helvetica. I have always associated consistency as a value of the WordPress brand — so why does this feel so half-baked?

    My suggestion — find a companionable serif for headings, and make more use of contrasts in weight.

  77. Val

    This is much better. Much clearer. I spotted it a few few days ago and thought my computer had done something weird! Though (despite the ClearType adjustment on my XP O.S.) I find it looks grey rather than black. But I can live with that. :)

  78. Nisa

    I love this font! And I’m wondering if we could use font too for our blog body text? :)

  79. Robin Sherman (@Edit_Design)

    Always thought Arial in particular was the worst typeface for the web or a monitor. Too compressed. Monitors need more open typefaces. Open Sans, at first look, seems to do a good job.

  80. Emily

    Love iiiiiit.

  81. Hana Bi

    I chose Open Sans for my blog a couple of months ago…I love it! :)

  82. caliroe

    I have visual issues and the new font looks lighter, to my eyes at least, I prefer a darker, bolder typeface. Thanks

  83. Vaneeesa Blaylock

    I do agree with the several peeps who’ve noted that serif faces have always been more legible than sans. Are we just used to sans online? Or is it a function of the medium? Do serif faces look better in hi-rez print, but on lower rez screens do the serifs just get messy and sans becomes functionally more legible?

    But my real question is why in your A-B sample does the new face look SO much better and clearer? Does it have a larger x-height? Or do the old faces have a “fuzz” around them. For sure it looks great, but it actually looks so great, it makes me wonder if there’s another effect also in place.

    After a couple of wonderful years at wordpress.com we recently migrated to a self-hosted installation. Any info on how to use Open Sans in that environment?

    I do hear the peeps that complain Open Sans is too stark and minimal, but the improved legibility is so dramatic, to me it can only be a win. Thanks & Congratulations!

  84. E.

    i know i’m so late to comment but it doesn’t mean that i’ve just recently noticed Open Sans. i just want to say that i totally love this typeface and i’m so happy to see it every time i come home (WP is my home). it really suits WP, in my opinion.

  85. Anthony Arce

    I love it great job I love the typeface. WordPress design team keep up the good work!

  86. pobby69

    Nice, I like it. :o)

  87. Tony Gieske

    This is a good example of Pasthatred. Type with serifs is obviously prettier and more readable. But some regard it as Olde.

  88. columbusohioplumbers

    I started using Open Sans for my blog as well. Definitely the right choice.

  89. D R Hosie

    It appears to be everything you said it was. Excellent choice.

  90. Tommy Maverick

    I totally would not have noticed if I didn’t see this, but I’m sure that it looks freaking amazing on a Retina Display…..

  91. pawprintcooper

    Looks really sharp, WordPress. I implemented it on my site as well

  92. Deivid R Valdez

    An absolute beautiful option to walk away from tradition and boredom… Love it!

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