Microsoft Is Set to Change Default Office Font After Calibri’s 15-Year Reign

Microsoft has a somewhat surprising announcement: the default Microsoft Office font, Calibri, has run its course, and it is time for something new.

Calibri has been the default font for Microsoft products for just shy of 15 years and remains one of the world’s most popular fonts precisely because of this.

But Microsoft isn’t leaving the new default down to chance. You won’t find a voting form for Fonty McFontface here. No, Microsoft has commissioned five new custom fonts covering various styles to replace Calibri in 2022.

Microsoft Calls Time on Calibri

Calibri has dominated Microsoft apps since replacing the venerable Times New Roman in 2007. Now, Microsoft is preparing to shunt Calibri from its top spot, replacing the default Microsoft font with one of five newly commissioned custom sans-serif style fonts.

The new fonts cover the various sans-serif styles many of us know and love: humanist, geometric, swiss-style, and industrial. Microsoft has spent many hours working with the designers of each font to “bring their nuances and unique personality to life.”

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Microsoft is encouraging user feedback via the above tweet, displaying how the new fonts will look in a basic Word document. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Calibri is only being “demoted” from the top spot. It isn’t disappearing forever.

Tenorite, created by Erin McLaughlin and Wei Huang, is the most work-like of the new fonts, departing from Calibri’s well-known soft corners for stronger angles and an overall “tighter fitting” font. In that, Tenorite pushes efficiency while remaining versatile.

Bierstadt, created by Steve Matteson, is a contemporary take on sans serif fonts influenced by mid-20th-Century Swiss typefaces. It delivers simplicity and style in a single package. It draws upon similar font styles, such as Arial and Helvetica, but comes with some modern touches and unique flourishes.

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Skeena, created by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow, is a “humanist” sans serif font designed to appeal to a wider audience and move away from the traditional design constraints of sans serif typefaces. The result is a typeface with varying shapes, sizes, and strokes between letters, and one that certainly comes with some “dramatic impact.”

Seaford, created by Tobias Frere-Jones, Nina Stössinger, and Fred Shallcrass, takes influence from the sans serif fonts of old, using gently curving, slightly asymmetrical shapes to emphasize the power of each letter.

Grandview, created by Aaron Bell, draws inspiration from “classic German road and railway signage” and is designed for maximum readability no matter the font size or style. Quips about German efficiencies aside, Grandview is uncompromising and easy to read and will suit any number of document types.

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Microsoft’s New Fonts Divide Opinion

Of course, Microsoft’s new fonts have divided opinions. As each font comes from a different designer drawing upon a sans-serif style, there is no perfect candidate.

Tenorite appears to be an early favorite, with users commenting on its more traditional style and comparisons to Times New Roman. Other users prefer the modern curves and flowing lines of Skeena, which the designers promise “is a fresh take on sans serif.”

You may discern between the candidates using the following tweet, which opts for a more traditional font comparison.

Choosing a new font that could be in use for the next 15 years is no easy task. So, what does Microsoft want you to choose? That would be telling, but the official Microsoft 365 Twitter account has its own ideas.

Team Tenorite, anyone?

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