Zwift branding getting it wrong… with the new font (a letter lost in this forum from a user, but also designer)

There’s a saying in design that “form follows function”, which means not just that there must be a reason for the decisions, but also means that if the aesthetic doesn’t help what needs to be done, it’s irrelevant. An idea that leads to sharp, sleek and streamlined solutions, when applied correctly.

I am far to be a fan of blindly follow rules or ideas just for what it seems, because many times is when we break them that we create something more meaningful and unique… but we need to do it very consciously, knowing what we are trying to break. Those are the times when disrupt, cause friction, discussion, an argument is the function itself.

That doesn’t seem to be the case here.

In an urge to overly brand its universe, Zwift adopted a new font - which seems very based on the logo needs to be more unique and also what it seems looking from outside - that doesn’t works towards the platform’s main design challenges: to try to balance and ease an user experience that is very unequal and dependent in an infinite series of structural points that are beyond its reach: countless systems and versions for an even more daunting varieties of gadgets. From PCs, Macs, smartphones, tablets, TVs and trainers inumerous setups, a full branch of systems and their versions and, speaking of visuals, a ridiculous amount of screen sizes, resolutions and standards for color, contrast and so on.

Besides the logo, the new retro look font doesn’t deliver, not even close, in terms of function, from its predecessor.

To begin with it’s a very small font for screen reading and small sizes (measured by the height of the lowercase in reference to the uppercase).

The letters are so overworked to be visually strong, independent from one another that makes it hard to read even short sentences. They take too much attention, and reading flow with it. There are strong white space contrast between the letters, separating them and causing a slow rhythm, hard time identifying a word’s silhouettes. The automatic side rolling info resource the game uses seems even worse now, performance wise (deliver information).

All the excessive round corners and strong geometric forms make the letters clunky in small sizes, like some of them are skewed up, others down. It’s really tiring to keep reading this way.

Seems it lacks depth in what it really needs: increased comfort and easy reading, a more resourceful family, with width variations, big lowercase family and maybe specific variation for text and paragraphs.

You just need to compare chunks of headlines and paragraphs and game screen data with the old font and the new to see. Is much, much more pleasant to read the old one.

Zwift doesn’t even have to use the same family for headlines and paragraphs… i understand the urge, because the game, that is not made of headlines, is the main feature here. But this is not helping the experience at all. Performance and brand wise, once that branding IS the experience.

Sorry, but someone needed to say it.

I speak from a Zwift enthusiastic perspective here, really wishing that this platform flourish even further and knowing by fact that this is not written in stone.

Couldn’t agree more, not to mention the fact that this new font completely hinders accessibility for those with visual impairments. It’s not even just a design flaw. It’s not accessible. At. All. Zwift should be trying to enhance accessibility of their products, but they’re too focused on branding over function. It’s really disappointing.

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Yeah. It’s not very readable, and it does not work all that well as a display font either (headlines and such). Too many details which grab your attention the wrong way at larger sizes (such as the letter |< I mean k). The old one wasn’t exactly to my taste either, but at least it wasn’t actively bad…

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The thing I noticed immediately is that the numbers 1 and 7 are too similar. That, in itself, is a backwards step for me :-1:

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Good grief this font change is an epic fail! As a ride leader who uses the CA for messaging (ATV user), it’s hard enough. But now, now! It’s awful!!!

But seriously- the main failure is for those who are visually impaired!! Not good Zwift - sort it out!

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Until just now I hadn’t read any real copy in the new font, but I just saw the Academy “Program Overview” page in Companion and I must agree. It’s very hard to read. The spaces between the letters are too wide; this means the difference between letter spacing and word spacing is lower, which in turn damages readability as it’s harder to spot the word boundaries.

This is a font designed by someone who hasn’t though it through from a readability perspective, I feel.

It’d be better for Zwift to use their special font for headlines only, and render normal copy in something more readable.

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Also while on the topic of readability, the same page in Companion has a lot of “paragraph” text that’s centred. This can also harm readability.

See Why You Should Never Center Align Paragraph Text for example.

Similarly, fully justified text is an accessibility problem (G169: Aligning text on only one side), but fortunately I haven’t seen any instances of that.

I did see a panel in the same page where the text colour is white, and is over three yellow stripes on the mostly purple background. The contrast where the text is over the strips is very low, again harming readability.

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just thinking the same there, hard on the eyes to read that one compared to the rest of the page.

Generally i don’t have a major issue with the new font but the likes of the 1 and 7 is bad and I’d hate to think what is like for users with visual impairments.

Another case of zwift rolling out changes without any testing they never seem to learn or pilot changes…You have a group of people setup and willing to test changes why don’t you use them baffles me.

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Stuff the new roads, basic features such as average power for a ride, or for a set interval, or being able to change user without exiting the app and logging into the launcher…
What I’m really desperate for is a different font for the limited data the poorly designed, non-modifiable UI gives me.

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oh, you’re in luck! Have I got good news for you!

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not enamoured with the font change tbh but at least it now matches zwiftpower

I’m really glad we were able to deliver a feature you were looking for.

Ride on Jack!

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Clap Good Job GIF by Team Coco

does anybody know what kind of font it is? Public available?

Public consensus seems to be a bad one.

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Can I get the font in Cornflower Blue???

So, what Zwift did is introduce a new font that is incredibly unfriendly to anyone with a visual impairment. Does anyone at Zwift care about providing a good experience for those with visual impairments? Seems like most requests go unacknowledged. It sure would be nice if Zwift created a platform that was actually accessible to all. This goes beyond a basic complaint (because I know we all just love to complain about new or buggy features), it’s actually not providing an equal experience for all.

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I promise you, we’re reviewing feedback.

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I suppose this raises a bigger issue and there should be a kind of accessibility view (not sure if that is the correct term) where everything is geared up for those with visual impairments? From the font, to the icons, backgrounds the lot. My guess would be the old home screen was a lot easier to navigate as it didn’t have a blurry background behind it.

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What if they just ran a group ride celebrating people who are sight challenged? Maybe even with custom kit unlock!

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