Microsoft to Choose New Default Font to Replace Calibri

John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 845
edited May 2 in Type Business
Microsoft is presenting five candidates for its new default font, to replace Calibri.
One of them is Skeena, among the designers of which is our own John Hudson.
In my opinion, though, the only candidates that have a chance are Tenorite and maybe Seaford. Bierstadt is too bold, and Grandview is too DIN-like. As for Skeena? All the candidates are sans-serif. Seaford is apparently not quite a monoline face, but Skeena is very definitely not monoline; it's also in the semi-bold category. So, while it is a beautiful face, I doubt it can be a default.
These five typefaces are already available within Office 365.
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Comments

  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    edited May 2
    Skeena would be my candidate ! It has something of the freshness of my beloved "Brusseline" used in Brussel's metro. And i guess it's even more elegant and more readable on text !
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 845
    edited May 2
    I prefer Skeena personally myself. But for a default font, I fear that bland and inoffensive is what will win - for perfectly understandable reasons.
  • Skeena is my favorite of the bunch as well, because it's the most readable (although it would be even more readable spaced more tightly). But the delusion of putting this to vote sours the whole thing for me. As if reading is entertainment.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,371
    I feel quite at home with Skeena as well.  I prefer the modulation and the terminals.
  • As much as I applaud MS for making such a process more transparent, open and iterative, I feel neither of the fonts really feels Microsoft (brand) nor default (UI). I’d be curious was this an after-the-fact brief for making a potential new “default font” or was this the creative ghoal from the get go for all those fonts? It feels like MS is pinning different styles against one another, instead of synthesizing something that's truly encapsulating what they feel their OS should be.

  • Indeed the ClearType collection was much more... clear-headed. Coupled with the fact that they're making all these ostensibly competing typefaces available anyway, it makes me think that the "transparency" is actually part of the populist marketing gimmickry. Somewhat parallel to the desperation of making a branding font freely usable by anybody.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 845
    Note: this is for Office, not for the OS.

    I'm not so sure about that. From the Microsoft page I referenced, it appears that just as it is Calibri instead of Times Roman that comes up by default in WordPad in the operating system, the successor to Calibri, chosen from these typefaces, currently only available in Office, will be there as well.
  • John Hudson
    The brief was to create new sans serif families for Office
    Multiple ones (especially assuming the various design teams were not consulting with each other) is what leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
    John Hudson
    this is for Office, not for the OS.
    True, but it's *MS* Office. And arguably the default font in Office gets way more mindshare than the OS typeface. Noting how people have come to love to hate Calibri, not Segoe (or whatever, I'm not even sure, which is telling here).
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,177
    WordPad began life a stripped down version of Word (hence the name), so while it ships with the OS it takes its cues from Word.

    Yes, eventually it is likely that some of the new fonts will ship bundled with either or both Office and Windows (at the moment they are only available via the Office cloud font service), but Johannes was talking about Microsoft brand and ‘encapsulating what they feel their OS should be’—and the new Office fonts are really not that: they are document fonts for users, not branding fonts for Windows.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 845
    and the new Office fonts are really not that: they are document fonts for users, not branding fonts for Windows.

    That's certainly true enough.
    Just because users know Calibri by name, while the font used below icons and in menus and so on is not normally seen by its name (although if you delve into Personalizations, no doubt you will see its name and be able to pick another one...)
  • the new Office fonts are really not that: they are document fonts for users, not branding fonts for Windows.
    That distinction is generally cogent, but in the case of MS, whose primary user mindshare is Office it's more hypothetical than real. When you see Calibri virtually every time you run MS software, Calibri comes to represent MS, more than whatever font they use for branding. In a way it's difficult for MS to brand itself with type.

    An interesting comparison here is IBM Plex, which is supposed to straddle branding and usage, but because IBM doesn't make dominant authoring software for end-users it cannot work, and simply ends up eroding the typographic branding potential (with very little benefit).
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 186
    Congratulations to Mr Hudson on a well-deserved accolade. I'm proud to be on a forum where a craftsman of his caliber comments. 

    Perhaps Microsoft will choose to replace their serif default font for MS Office before too long. If they have any sense, they'll look at New York, the abomination that Apple paid actual money for, then turn around by 180 degrees, and look for a replacement in that direction. 

    Or maybe somebody at Microsoft will choose to drop by this forum, and stop for a second to think about all the imaginative, talented folks who come to showcase their work here. 
  • SiDaniels said:
    I asked all of the designers to propose serif and monospaced companions, so hopefully a roadmap for that too.
    Awesome.
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 272
    They are all pretty bland, but the one with the most pleasing character (or should that be characters) is Skeena in my opinion. :)
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 845
    I've found more extensive specimens of these five typefaces here:

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,177
    In a way it's difficult for MS to brand itself with type.
    Segoe has been central to the branding of Microsoft in general and Windows in particular for almost 20 years. It is everywhere in Microsoft branding and user experience, and used with great consistency and according to brand guidelines. Far from being difficult for Microsoft to brand itself with type, it has been so successful in branding itself with Segoe that replacing that typeface in the UI would be significantly difficult without also rebranding the company.
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 186
    Bierstadt is German for 'beer town.' Shouldn't that name go to a custom cut of Comic Sans for some party-all-night-long frat house at Florida State? Maybe Microsoft can come up with a replacement name with wider appeal. Though I like the new font, I'll never use anything named Beer Town in anything other than a party flyer. Just sayin.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 845
    Bierstadt is German for 'beer town.' Shouldn't that name go to a custom cut of Comic Sans for some party-all-night-long frat house at Florida State? Maybe Microsoft can come up with a replacement name with wider appeal. Though I like the new font, I'll never use anything named Beer Town in anything other than a party flyer. Just sayin.

    As it happens, the designer has said a few words about the typeface on the Microsoft page. The name is taken from a high mountain in his state of Colorado, because Switzerland, the country from which he took design inspiration, is mountainous.
    Of course, while Germany is famous for Oktoberfest, Switzerland is more famous for its milk.

  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 186
    So, then, it should be Milchstadt. ;-) 

    There are many name places and mountains to choose from. Must is be a name that evokes a keg stand scene in Animal House 2: Beer Me, Bro!?
  • John Hudson said:
    Segoe has been central to the branding of Microsoft in general and Windows in particular for almost 20 years.
    In theory. In practice Segoe is such a generic humanist sans (to the point of eliciting a lawsuit threat, remember?) that it's difficult to brand with... which might be why MS chose it, because it knows the Office default font has more mindshare anyway.
    John Hudson said:
    replacing that typeface in the UI would be significantly difficult without also rebranding the company.
    Disagree. Branding relies mostly on display typography.

    When Calibri gets replaced, people will notice that way more than a UI font changing.
  • SiDanielsSiDaniels Posts: 277
    Thank you Konrad, ultimately if the names for any of these fonts are a blocker then we can rename them. We're hoping people express their opinions on the fonts themselves as well as the names.

  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 186
    Thanks, Mr Daniels. My own opinion is of no importance, of course. And, I do like the font. I just think that names are fungible -- they're purely conventional labels -- so you might as well choose a label that helps the product. 
  • Igor FreibergerIgor Freiberger Posts: 190
    Simon, maybe MS could provide more detailed samples. Tenorite, for example, seems not kerned in T/e, but from only half a line of text, no conclusion is reliable. I know the fonts are already available for 365 users, but if MS wants to also hear other users, more samples would be very helpful.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 845
    edited May 4
    Mount Bierstadt in Colorado is, no doubt, named after the painter Albert Bierstadt. There are many other mountains in that state; so I suppose Sneffels or Uncompaghre are also possibilities.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,786
    Mount Bierstadt in Colorado is, no doubt, named after the painter Albert Bierstadt. There are many other mountains in that state; so I suppose Sneffels or Uncompaghre are also possibilities.
    I have no doubt that Steve named it after Mount Bierstdat. He loves the Colorado mountains.
  • André G. IsaakAndré G. Isaak Posts: 563
    These five typefaces are already available within Office 365.
    I was curious to have a look at these, but they're not showing up in my office 365 applications. Is it possible this is a windows-only thing?
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 845
    I was curious to have a look at these, but they're not showing up in my office 365 applications. Is it possible this is a windows-only thing?

    I remember seeing a chart that shows that, yes, there are variations in font availability on different platforms. But they should be available in Word on nearly all the platforms.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,177
    You may need to adjust some settings in order to activate fonts from the Office cloud font service:
    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/cloud-fonts-in-office-f7b009fe-037f-45ed-a556-b5fe6ede6adb
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