Microsoft is getting a facelift in the form of a brand new default font, and it wants your help to choose one. But, before you envision the typographical equivalent of Boaty McBoatface (i.e. a public vote for Comic Sans), Microsoft has limited the options to a specially designed selection of five fonts.
In case you haven't been paying close attention, the current font is Calibri – a clear yet blend-into-the-background font, which is neither going to set the world alight nor be visually offensive. If it's your favourite, you don't need to panic though, as it'll still be available to use in Microsoft's Office apps. Do you want to give a project a new look? Try our list of free fonts.
So, what are the five fonts on the shortlist? Named Tenorite, Bierstadt, Skeena, Seaford, and Grandview, they range from warm and friendly to blocky, precise and retro. See a quick comparison above, and learn more about them below. Then decide which one you like the best.
Tenorite (above) is nicely rounded, with wide characters and ample spacing that make it excellent for accessibility. Created by Erin McLaughlin (opens in new tab) and Wei Huang (opens in new tab), this font has tighter fitting in display styles – so more words will fit in a line. It feels delightfully friendly, if a little safe.
Bierstadt is less traditional, more precise and inspired by mid-20th century Swiss typography. The font, designed by Steve Matteson (opens in new tab), expresses simplicity and rationality' and fits into the "grotesque sans serif" genre (as requested by Microsoft). It's meant to be in sharp contrast to stalwart Arial, and the retro vibe certainly fits the bill (see more vintage and retro fonts here).
Next up is Skeena. It sure is distinctive, we'll say that, with stark contrast between a mix of thick and thin strokes. John Hudson (opens in new tab) and Paul Hanslow (opens in new tab) wanted to create a 'humanist sans serif', and have included diagonally sheared terminals and a curves on entry and exit strokes. It's a mish-mash of different typographic eras and has quirks that would be a bit of a departure for Microsoft.
Apparently, Seaford calls on the 'comfortable familiarity of old-style serif text typefaces'. It was created by Tobias Frere-Jones (opens in new tab), Nina Stössinger (opens in new tab), and Fred Shallcrass (opens in new tab), and we think it certainly feels familiar, cosy and inviting.
Grandview by Aaron Bell (opens in new tab) is tall and super-legible (even from a distance, says Microsoft). Based on old German railway and road signage, it works well across a range of applications, with Bell working with the mechanical style of German Industrial Standard (DIN) to create a balanced, accessible font.
So, which one do you prefer? You can read more about them on Microsoft's blog (opens in new tab) and the new fonts have also been added to the cloud (opens in new tab) so you can explore them on Microsoft's Office apps. Then be sure to let Microsoft know how you feel about them on Microsoft's Twitter page (opens in new tab).
Microsoft has been a busy bee this week, with the tech giant also sharing some of its old logos. Check them out to remind yourself of why you love graphic design).