10 iconic fonts reveal Microsoft's huge influence on typography

Microsoft fonts have had a huge impact on type, even if it might not be the first company you think of in terms of typography. You might think of the big type foundries, Adobe or even Apple, which is well known for its own choice of San Francisco and New York as its brand typefaces. But one graphic designer argues that Microsoft is the company that has had the biggest impact on typography in the last 50 years. 

In the video below, the veteran graphic designer and self-described type nerd Linus Bowman explores 10 iconic Microsoft fonts. He believes that if we imagined worlds where either Adobe, Apple or Microsoft didn't exist, it would be the latter that would be the most different in terms of typography if not also on computing in general (see our pick of the best free fonts for alternatives).

Bowman's video is a lengthy deep dive into Microsoft fonts, looking to the origins, design and uses of ten iconic examples: Segoe UI, Calibri, Trebuchet MS, Georgia, Impact  Verdana, Times New Roman, Courier New and Arial and, of course, the infamous Comic Sans.

Starting off with Microsoft's brand typeface Sergoe UI and its interesting history (or 'shady origin') as Bowman puts it, the video is a fascinating and enlightening exploration of what have become some of the world's most famous fonts. Microsoft's market dominance throughout the era of the desktop computer gave it a huge influence on typography. As Bowman says of these fonts "Love the more hate them, it's impossible to deny their significance ."

Many commentators on the video say they're surprised Microsoft doesn't get more recognition for its influence on typography. Some wonder if they would even have ever heard the word 'font' if it weren't for the tech giant. "Microsoft Word was surely a lot of people's introduction to the entire concept of choosing a font," one person wrote.

For more on typography see our guide to typography design, our explainer on font vs typeface and our pick of some of the best font pairings.

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Joseph Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.