Dear +The Economist
, I am cancelling my subscription of two years because I no longer read news on a desktop computer, and the typeface used in your Android app is utterly atrocious
If you want my business again, please either:
1) Give me the option of selecting a different font, including at least one choice from the set of perfectly-legible Android system fonts, such as Droid Serif.
2) Hire a typeface designer who can create a digital serif font that isn't utterly awful at every one of your 5 possible font sizes. Ideally, someone who's heard of the words "kerning" and "aliasing".
3) If you can't do either of the above, at least give a sans-serif font option, which is less likely to be tragic.
The attached album shows closeups of 3 words from a single screen of your latest issue, zoomed in 4x but not interpolated (i.e. if you click each image to look at the full-size images, it's what the pixels actually look like on my device; they've not been altered in any way). This is the default font size used by body text in your app, but the same issues are apparent at any of the 5 font sizes included in the app.
The thinness of the right side of the capital "U" in "Unlike" is completely unacceptable. All capital U's look like this.
In "investment", the "stm" is kerned very nicely, but the "v" is floating out in the middle of nowhere, as are both "e"s. As an added bonus, the lower bit of the "e" looks like it's hovering a pixels above rest of the baseline, since the thickest (darkest, non-aliased) part is a pixel above the non-aliased bits of the serifs. Every single glyph with a rounded bottom exhibits this problem.
In "will", the width of the serif at the bottom of "i" is half as wide as the serifs at the bottom of each "l". This look might be nice and subtle in your print magazine, in which the i-serif might be just a tiny
bit thinner than the l-serif, but in a digital medium, it looks very clunky and inconsistent to have half your serifs be twice as heavy as the others.
These are far from the only problems with your typography -- just a small sample from a single paragraph of a single page. And I am not typography expert, but I know just a little bit, and your Android app reviews are full
of people complaining that the text is ugly, and this is exactly what they mean.
I hope this helps.