Ask DN: Anyone using the San Francisco font in their iOS app designs?

almost 6 years ago from , Product Designer

I'm designing a new iOS app for my company, and I'd like to use San Francisco for all of the app's text. I love the look of the new typeface and think it works well in my design. That being said, is using the system font for a third-pary app considered kosher? I just don't want my app to feel basic once iOS 9 drops. Would love some opinions!


  • Daniel ArcherDaniel Archer, over 5 years ago

    Actually, I think it's quite the opposite. Using the system font makes it feel even more native and familiar, and fits it in with other popular apps like Messages, Apple News, Mail, etc. On iOS 9 beta, you'll actually notice that many apps already use system fonts and automatically get updated to the latest system font as a result.

    6 points
  • Guy MeyerGuy Meyer, over 5 years ago

    Do it. It's totally meant to be used across Apple devices. As to it being basic, you need to weigh UX vs Style.

    However, if you think you'll be porting your app to Android -- you might have a problem there. I seriously doubt Apple would like to see SF used on Android.

    3 points
    • Matt CastilloMatt Castillo, over 5 years ago

      I'm actually porting an app from Android, so I'm in luck! And you're right, the license agreement for the fonts specifically state to use them for iOS and OS X designs only. Thanks for the reply!

      2 points
  • M. de Winter, over 5 years ago

    Yes! And I love it. Especially the numbers and special reading marks. They are so nice, even below 26pt

    0 points
  • Sam MorrisSam Morris, over 5 years ago

    I think it completely depends on the context. If it's a wholly functional and tool based app, then using San Francisco makes sense. If it's something with a strong brand that users are coming for, then I'd say it's best to put that unique personality across.

    0 points
  • Matt ColeMatt Cole, over 5 years ago

    If you plan on only supporting iOS 9, I'd say go for it. Otherwise, your app would display Helvetica Neue for iOS 8.4 and below and San Francisco for iOS 9.

    0 points
  • Maciej ZadykowiczMaciej Zadykowicz, over 5 years ago

    Yup. We were considering splurging for Lineto's Circular, in the end went with SF, nothing basic about it. Yes it feels like a part of a larger whole but you can take it in so many different directions with the added weights and some type-fu. We also had a UI with a ton of timestamps and that elevated colon of SF really helps there.

    0 points