Garmin makes purpose driven products, and the technologies of the product are chosen around the use case the product is intended. Making purpose driven products also influences the decisions of the screen technologies and fonts we choose for our products.
Garmin devices have two kinds of fonts available — text fonts and number fonts. Text fonts are for displaying text and numbers and come in three sizes:
The number font is a larger size font that can only display number data. It has four sizes:
With the exception of the Forerunner 920xt, the text font for Connect IQ devices will be the Roboto Regular typeface. The number font will be chosen for the product based on the use case of the product.
Garmin tries to provide the best looking fonts for the device. Using the BMFont tool, you can import your own typeface into the product. Using the BMFont tool, you can import truetype font into a font usable by Connect IQ. There are some guidelines to follow:
Garmin wearable products use displays that do not require a backlight. These displays use much less power than traditional cell phone displays, but will look muted compared to a cell phone display. The displays have two bits of red, green, and blue; a potential for 64 colors total. Different wearable products can have different color depths. The most common palettes are either 16 colors or 64 colors. For device specifics, see Appendix A which lists the available colors for each device.
The 16 color palette reserves one slot for ‘transparent’ and one for the user’s profile color, providing a total of 14 available colors:
The ‘transparent’ color and user’s profile color do not take up slots in the 64-color palette, so 64 distinct colors are available with this palette:
Using colors from the 16-color palette will make your apps the most portable. Even if you can’t stick to 16 colors, it’s a good idea to use low bit-depth images when possible since more colors will use more memory.
Garmin makes products with many screen shapes. When designing your product, take full advantage of the layout system in the resource compiler and the simulator to test your layout. The resource compiler allows you to specify your page layout in XML and have it target a particular device. See the Monkey C Programmer’s Guide for more details about the layout system.
Some, but not all, Garmin wearable products will have a touch screen. When designing a layout for a touchable screen, it is best to apply a rule of thirds: break the display up into a 3 x 3 grid and put your touchable elements clearly inside one of those grid areas. Using this rule ensure the user has enough finger space to select the touchable element. It’s also a good idea to keep the user interaction to a one dimensional interface – up, down, enter, and back.
Font size descriptions are approximate and my vary depending on the device. See Appendix B for font specifications. ↩
Also, this font burns my tongue. Who am I kidding, the medium font burns my tongue. ↩
Don’t ask; it’s a long story involving release dates and, surprisingly, Yetis. ↩
Fonts over 40 years old should have their colons checked every year by professionals. ↩
Certain products use a 3x3 touch screen that only has nine touchable areas, so consider it less than a guideline and more of a “do this or else.” ↩