What’s the font? Episode 01: YouTube

Have you ever wondered what fonts the biggest Brands in the world are using?  Those logos you see every day without even noticing. Well, you are not the only one. That’s why I’m starting “What’s The Font?”

The scope of this article series is to focus on why those brands are using those specific fonts and what were the reasons behind their choices.

Keep in mind that most of those fonts are proprietary and customised, so we’ll be analysing the fonts that look closest to the used ones.

In this episode, we’ll start from YouTube.

Enjoy the reading!


YouTube is the most famous platform for video sharing and with a user-base of over 1,300,000,000   it is used every day on a lot of different platforms, including desktop computers and smartphones.

What’s the font?

Alternate Gothic - YouTube Logo Font

Until August 2017,  YouTube used Alternate Gothic,  a typeface designed by Morris Fuller Benton in 1903. Bold and narrow, this typeface is perfect when powerful typographic headlines must fit into an economy of space. It comes in 3 different weights, numbered 1 through 3.

The new typeface –YouTube Sans,  has been designed by branding agency Saffron in collaboration with Letterjuice and URW. Saffron says: “It is slightly quirky and expressive, but also simple and bold, just like the platform it calls home.”

Why did they change the typeface?

Alternate Gothic was originally designed for newspaper use: a typeface that could maintain its readability whether it was displayed in large headlines or small columns.

YouTube UI evolved over the years, and by designing a bespoke font was needed to stress the uniqueness of the brand. YouTube Sans shares a lot of elements with Alternate Gothic but adds its own twist. The letterforms are inspired by the Play button -softly rounded to match the curves of the icon’s outer edges.
The newly designed Logo combines a cleaned up version of the YouTube wordmark and Icon, creating a more flexible design that’s perfectly readable and unique even in the smallest screens.

That’s all for this episode: can you guess what’s next? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram!

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