A ticket in the WordPress 4.6 working repo reveals plans to drop Open Sans as the default font family for the WordPress admin panel, the team choosing to revert back to using system fonts.
Open Sans became the de-facto admin panel font when Automattic released WordPress 3.8 which featured a redesigned admin, along with a special icon font.
Back then, the WordPress team justified the decision to use Open Sans (loaded via Google Fonts) as the perfect font that fitted with WordPress’ new admin menu iconography.
The team also explained that Open Sans was also consistent across operating systems, and this allowed the WordPress backend to look the same across devices.
Using system fonts will make the WordPress admin faster
Helen Hou-Sandi, one of the lead developers for the WordPress CMS, announced that they’re now dropping Open Sans because in, the past few years, many operating systems, from Android to Ubuntu, now come with built-in, professionally-designed system fonts.
“In the years since, Windows, Android, OS X, iOS, Firefox OS, and various flavors of Linux have all gotten their own (good) system UI fonts,”on the WordPress Trac project manager.
Open Sans will be replaced with Segoe UI on Windows and Windows Phone, with San Francisco, Neue Helvetica or Lucida Grande on Mac OS X and iOS, with Roboto on Android, with Oxygen Sans on KDE-based Linux distributions, with the Ubuntu font on Ubuntu-based Linux distros, and with Cantarell on GNOME-based Linux distributions.
The change will have an immediate impact when it comes to page loading times for the WordPress backend. By choosing to load and use fonts from the local computer, the admin panel will load much faster, instead of waiting for the Open Sans font to be downloaded from Google’s servers.
The next major WordPress version is scheduled to drop this summer, probably August.