Microsoft demotes Calibri from default typeface gig, starts fling with five other fonts

None of them are Comic Sans, or likely to provoke similar passion


Microsoft has decided that Calibri’s days as its default font are numbered.

“We believe it’s time to evolve,” says a post by Microsoft’s design team, which reckons it’s time for a change because: “A default font is often the first impression we make; it’s the visual identity we present to other people via our resumes, documents, or emails. And just as people and the world around us age and grow, so too should our modes of expression.”

With Q3 revenue of $41bn and net income of $15.5bn Microsoft seems to be making a perfectly good impression on the world. Or perhaps that colossal pile of cash means you don’t have to explain why you’ve commissioned five typefaces to replace one that has no obvious flaws.

Microsoft has showed the newbies off on Twitter.

Details, you say? You want details? OK! Here’s how Microsoft describes the new typefaces:

  • Bierstadt is “a precise, contemporary sans serif typeface inspired by mid-20th-century Swiss typography” and “a versatile typeface that expresses simplicity and rationality in a highly readable form”;
  • Grandview was “derived from classic German road and railway signage, which was designed to be legible at a distance and under poor conditions” and was “designed for use in body text”;
  • Seaford's “gently organic and asymmetric forms help reading by emphasizing the differences between letters, thus creating more recognizable word shapes”;
  • Skeena's “strokes are modulated, with a noticeable contrast between thick and thin and a distinctive slice applied to the ends of many of the strokes.” Microsoft says this makes it “ideal for body text in long documents, as well as in shorter passages often found in presentations, brochures, tables, and reports”;
  • Tenorite “has the overall look of a traditional workhorse sans serif but with a warmer, more friendly style”.
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The new typefaces are already available for Microsoft 365 subscribers. The Register had no trouble finding them in the webby incarnation of Word. Office. Microsoft explains how to find the new type, here.

Microsoft last changed the default typeface in Office in 2007, when Calibri replaced Times New Roman. At the time Microsoft said it wanted a typeface that looked better on screen. This time around all we have is the desire for an image makeover. ®

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