If you logged onto Twitter this morning and thought things looked a little different, don't worry – it isn't just you. The social media platform has rolled out some design changes, including higher contrast and increased space. But there's one aspect that's getting everyone talking (read: tweeting) – the new font.
Initially revealed in January, Chirp, the company's first ever proprietary typeface, is now making its way onto the system. Calling it a balance of "American Gothics and European Grotesques" Twitter says the new font is both legible and quirky. But as is the case with anything new, it seems people are going to need time to get used to it. (Looking for typographical inspiration? Check out our best free fonts).
In January, we revealed our new font, Chirp — and it’s ready for you to use today.All Western-language text now aligns left, making it easier to read as you scroll. Non-Western languages remain unchanged.https://t.co/nlgxXJs5F6August 11, 2021
Twitter unveiled a grungy new aesthetic at the start of 2021, but until now it was confined to splash screens and the company's website. But with the rolling out of the new typeface across the platform itself, users are starting to take more notice – and not everyone's happy.
Plenty have expressed their displeasure at the new look, calling the updated typeface uglier (opens in new tab), headache-inducing (opens in new tab) and harder to read (opens in new tab). But not everyone's hating on it – there are those who agree that Chirp is much more legible than the previous Helvetica, with one user describing reading the new font as "like having laser surgery" (opens in new tab).
But it seems the most common reaction is, "huh?" There are lots of users who simply can't tell the difference. And if we're honest, we don't particularly blame them. When placed side-by-side (above), it's clear that the new typeface is a little shorter and wider than the original. But it's hardly the gargantuan transformation that some reactions might suggest.
People trying to find the differences in fonts:#TwitterFont pic.twitter.com/zLEUupWpXYAugust 12, 2021
What is this font change everyone talking about and I don’t see??#TwitterFont pic.twitter.com/UwhAn251nhAugust 12, 2021
In a blog post (opens in new tab), Twitter explains that it worked with Swiss type foundry Grilli Type (opens in new tab) to develop Chirp, and claims that the typeface "strikes the balance between messy and sharp to amplify the fun and irreverence of a Tweet, but can also carry the weight of seriousness when needed."
We're fans of Twitter's new look overall, and anything that makes the site more legible is a good thing from an accessibility perspective. We have a feeling users will adjust to the new typeface pretty quickly – and if they don't, there are other social media platforms out there that offer a little more typographical choice. Speaking of which, here's how to change your Instagram font.