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Apple San Francisco Alternatives


Hi everyone, I'm sure some of you already faced the challenge of finding a close alternative to Apple's new default system font to build a consistent cross-platform experience. My goal is to use SF Display and SF Text on iOS and Mac as primary platforms for our app and find something similar on other platforms (eg Windows, Android etc). I would really appreciate any suggestions.

The closest one I could find for SF Display is Graphik (Commercial Type). It does support Extended Latin, Cyrillic and Greek alphabets, proportional and tabular lining for figures, it has hinting and most importantly it looks... well, not similar, but close to SF UI. I still have to set text tracking tighter than default (about –20) but the main problem now is that the weight is distributed differently: Graphik Light is thiner than SF UI Light, Graphik Medium is bolder than SF UI Medium and so on.

The only other suggestion I found yet was Akkurat here, but I'm still not satisfied.

asked by bystrov (102 points) Jan 24, 2016

1 Answer

+4 votes
Best answer

Hi, bystrov. I responded at TypeDrawers, but this is a better place for this kind of discussion so I’ll re-post here:

I think Graphik is indeed the best commercially available match. You might also like ColfaxCalibre, or Neuzeit S. But why have you chosen San Francisco Display for text? It is too tightly spaced for the smaller size you show above. That’s what San Francisco Text is for — which you’ll find to be closer to Akkurat (though, really, SF Compact is closest to that predecessor). Tightly spaced type looks good when it’s big, but it’s widely agreed that looser spacing and larger apertures are more optimal for smaller text. For many of us, those two changes are the main improvements of SF over Helvetica as a UI face. I highly recommend Apple’s WWDC talk for a good explanation.

answered by Stewf Expert (3,412 points) Jan 24, 2016
selected by Stewf Feb 2, 2016
Yes, thanks again, Stephen, I'll just wonder if someone have something to add :)
I hope so!