Google Web Fonts for my Jekyll Sass

June 4, 2017

I recently realized I like the Serif/SanSerif font settings on Medium posts more then the default styles of my own Jekyll blog.

// google web fonts
$Serif: 'Roboto Slab', serif;
$SansSerif: 'Roboto', sans-serif;
$Monospace: 'Roboto Mono', monospace;

This blog is served from github and the jekyll setup forked from Jekyll Now. Changing the fonts is actually quite simple. Thanks to Sass and the fully automated build process on github pages you only need to change some base files:

  • _layout/default.html
  • _sass/_variables.scss
  • style.scss
  • _sass/_highlights.scss

Font Selection

Head over to Google Fonts and choose the fonts you like. I went with the Roboto family, but thats totally up to your taste. I selected the three variants serif, sanserif and monospace. Google builds a text snippted to be included in your html header to serve your font selection from their CDN. The easiest way is to just insert that to the html header in _layouts/default.html:

    <link href="|Roboto+Slab:300|Roboto:500" rel="stylesheet">

CSS Variables

Sass holds its style in the _sass/_variables.scss file. Transforming the native CSS (which google also gives you) into a sass variable is straightforward:

font-family: 'Roboto Slab', serif;
font-family: 'Roboto', sans-serif;
font-family: 'Roboto Mono', monospace;


// google web fonts
$Serif: 'Roboto Slab', serif;
$SansSerif: 'Roboto', sans-serif;
$Monospace: 'Roboto Mono', monospace;

Font Style Variable names

I don’t understand the original logic in the style.css file of Jekyll Now. For example, the h1 headlines font is set to font-family: $helveticaNeue;. You have a sass variable for the font family, but it is named after the content of the variable. So when now changing the font-family you would either need to put another font value into the $helveticaNeue variable, which is confusing, or you need to change all references to $helveticaNeue var to references to a new font variable. Also not a smart move.

This is why I named the font-family var name to be the category for which they are used. Now I can rewrite the style.scss sass file and replace the headlines with the sans-serif and text with the serif variables. Easy to understand:

// use whatever Serif font i put in variables
font-family: $SanSerif; // $helveticaNeue;  
font-family: $Serif;    // $helvetica;  

Missing Monospace Code Fonts

Last thing was to replace the hardcoded monospace font with a sass variable. Again with the same naming concept.

code {
  font-family: $Monospace;
  font-size: 0.8em;


Jekyll and Google Fonts: easy. Blogging might even get fun again and this of course was just a test article i needed to check it out.

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