Goodbye, Calibri. It’s 2021 and it may not be the year for Times New Roman to make a comeback or Comic Sans to takeover, but the default font for Microsoft is definitely changing. Late on Wednesday, Microsoft announced that Calibri, which has been the default font for all things Microsoft since 2007, when it stepped in to replace Times New Roman across Microsoft Office is being removed. “It has served us all well, but we believe it’s time to evolve,” wrote Microsoft on its blog. “To help us set a new direction, we’ve commissioned five original, custom fonts to eventually replace Calibri as the default. We’re excited to share these brand-new fonts with you and would love your input,” they added.
Calibri, which has dominated the default font for almost 15 years, is finally retiring now and it’s the replacement: The five new sans-serif fonts feature a variety of styles, including traditional, modern, and even one inspired by German road and railway signs. Microsoft is starting to gather feedback on these five new fonts on its social media and it plans to set one as the new Office default font in 2022.
Microsoft asked for popular opinion on Twitter.
And the options were… well, there were options.
Breaking up through text. Harsh.— Kyle Shook⚡️ (@elyktrix) April 28, 2021
Grand view so when you have to write a 5 page paper it takes less words 😎— Preposterous Panda (@PrepstrsPanda) April 28, 2021
While public opinion is varied, here’s a background on what the five fonts are.
TENORITE by Erin McLaughlin and Wei Huang: Tenorite has the overall look of a traditional workhorse sans serif (a font without a serif, or a stroke at the ends, like Times New Roman), but with a warmer, more friendly style. Elements such as large dots, accents, and punctuation make Tenorite comfortable to read at small sizes onscreen, and crisp-looking shapes and wide characters create a generally open feeling.
BIERSTADT by Steve Matteson: Bierstadt is a precise, contemporary sans serif typeface inspired by mid-20th-century Swiss typography. A versatile typeface that expresses simplicity and rationality in a highly readable form, Bierstadt is also notably clear-cut with stroke endings that emphasize order and restraint.
SKEENA by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow: Skeena is a “humanist” sans serif based on the shapes of traditional serif text typefaces. Its strokes are modulated, with a noticeable contrast between thick and thin and a distinctive slice applied to the ends of many of the strokes. Skeena is ideal for body text in long documents, as well as in shorter passages often found in presentations, brochures, tables, and reports.
SEAFORD by Tobias Frere-Jones, Nina Stössinger, and Fred Shallcrass: Seaford is a sans serif typeface that is rooted in the design of old-style serif text typefaces and evokes their comfortable familiarity. Its gently organic and asymmetric forms help reading by emphasizing the differences between letters, thus creating more recognizable word shapes.
GRANDVIEW by Aaron Bell: Grandview is a sans serif typeface derived from classic German road and railway signage, which was designed to be legible at a distance and under poor conditions. Grandview is designed for use in body text but retains the same qualities of high legibility, with subtle adjustments made for long-form reading.
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