Twitter's new font, Chirp, is apparently giving some users headaches

It's inevitable: Twitter changes Twitter, and Twitter users complain on Twitter. But does Chirp make you feel like a woodpecker is pounding on your skull?

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
3 min read

Change is never easy, and Twitter users aren't afraid to complain. Those two truisms combined on Wednesday when Twitter unveiled a new design that included a new font, called Chirp, and higher-contrast colors. Almost immediately, users began to complain -- with many saying the new font gave them headaches. (This writer is getting them too.)

A Twitter spokesperson told me, "We tested the font and found that while it does take people a little time to get used to it, overall they like the change. We're listening to feedback about the font and will continue to improve it."

Pity the poor Twitter employee who had to gamely charge onto the platform and try to explain why the changes are for the better, because even if they were, no one wanted them.

"Today, we released a few changes to the way Twitter looks on the web and on your phone," a tweet from Twitter Design reads. "While it might feel weird at first, these updates make us more accessible, unique, and focused on you and what you're talking about."

Chirp, the new typeface

Twitter's Derrit DeRouen posted an entire thread about why the company felt a need to develop its own typeface, writing that, "for everyday use it must be sharp and legible (with good density), but with personality and distinctiveness."

But some found Chirp harder to read.

"PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let us change the font back," said one Twitter user. "It's incredibly difficult for me to read with, and it physically hurts to look at it."

Said another, "It looks like the letters are doing the wave, I hate it."

Pass the aspirin

A number of Twitter users made the same point: The new font is giving them headaches.

"The new Twitter font has cured my addiction to this bird app because i actually can't scroll without getting a headache now," wrote one user.

"Read tweets with Twitter's new font and get a headache," one person wrote. "Then maybe you'll close your eyes out of frustration and eventually fall asleep."

Color my world

Another change involved the color scheme of the site. Notably, Follow buttons are now black in regular mode or white in dark mode, whereas before, users could choose from a variety of different colors.

"Our new buttons are high contrast too," the site's design account posted. "Now the most important actions you can take stand out. Yes, the follow buttons look different, but they'll help you see what actions you've taken at a glance."

But some users weren't fans. Said one, "the new black buttons for following someone feel like i am about to curse them with my newfound presence which i guess is like, accurate."

Too late to turn back?

And this being Twitter, some users just delivered on the jokes.

"Twitter has now become your domestic partner," wrote one person. "You get home and they are like, 'honey do you notice anything different? I've been working all day rearranging all of your stuff don't be mad, while I might feel weird at first you are going to love it!'"

And some users pointed out that if Twitter was really feeling the need to make changes, there are others that should've come to the forefront. "Still looking for the edit feature," said one.