Why designers might care that Google is blocked in China

• ~200 words • 1 minute read

It's fairly well known fact that, as of this writing in 2017, Google is officially blocked in China. This means no Google searches, no Gmail, no Google Maps, no YouTube, etc.

You know what this also means? No Google Fonts! I've been meaning to write about this for a year after noticing this in my trip to China and North Korea last spring.

So, if you're a web designer partial to relying on Google Fonts for your projects and you're concerned with building a truly global website, you might want to take this into consideration and choose your fallback fonts more carefully.

A quick tip for those that might be traveling to China: Google and its offerings are blocked in China but there is an interesting workaround that doesn't require setting up a VPN or anything particularly technical. If you have a U.S. SIM card for your smartphone and if your carrier offers roaming data in other countries — like T-Mobile, for example — you can still access Google, Gmail, YouTube, etc. It's a truly odd workaround that I don't fully understand, but I confirmed with someone I met in Hong Kong on that trip that this is the case.


Wrote a blog post about consequences of blocking Google in China for designers. Reading local news — a car bomb targeting a Ukrainian colonel blew up. Yikes.