Much like professional wrestling, some fonts are just predetermined.
And there’s a reason for that—time’s ticking, and you have to get work. There’s not a moment to be precious here. If you’re banging away at the screenplay or pilot, you’re stuck with Courier. You work in Google Docs? That’s Arial. And if you’re Margie in accounts receivable, every inter-office memo about how you can only have two slices of pizza when they have Quarterly Party is going to be Comic Sans, dammit.
Now, Microsoft is shaking things up, and they’ve commissioned five new sans serif fonts to replace their default choice across systems—Calibri. Since 2007, it has been the go-to choice when you fire up Microsoft-anything, and it replaced the straight-laced, all-business Times New Roman for maximum office efficiency and readability. But fret not, Calibri fans (are there fans, though?). Microsoft isn’t taking Lucas de Groot's beloved creation into the backyard and putting it out of its misery, and it will still be an option for whatever your typing needs are.
Even though Microsoft commissioned some of the best type designers around to reimagine their programming ecosystem, this time, they want to let the people decide, and you can weigh in on Twitter about which fonts are your favorite.
And what fonts can you choose from?
Well, there’s the friendly, crisp Tenorite by Erin McLaughlin and Wei Huang, the exacting Mid-Century inspired Bierstadt from Steven Matteson, John Hudson and Paul Hanslow's humanist Skeena, the asymmetric Seaford by Tobias Frere-Jones, Nina Stössinger, and Fred Shallcrass, and, finally, Aaron Bell’s Grandview, a font that takes inspiration from old German roadway signage.
“Default fonts are perhaps most notable in the absence of the impression they make,” Microsoft wrote in the announcement. “We seldom give them much thought, and therein lies their greatest gift. When a font blends into the background of a user experience, people can jump right into the creative process and stay grounded in their thoughts rather than thinking about the form those thoughts take.
Microsoft will evaluate the five options over the coming months, and users can play around with the fonts across their many products. And, as mentioned above, you can share your thoughts with the company as well. I’m sure you have some opinions.