Calibri, the default Microsoft Office font that replaced the once indomitable Times New Roman, is heading into retirement. As with every beloved presence in tech, Calibri too had its share of naysayers, but will nonetheless go down in history as one of the most popular default font options of all time. Now, with a pivotal announcement, Microsoft has opened up a five-way battle between a shortlist of fonts, each of which will seek to replace Calibri as the default font of choice. If you’re even remotely invested in design, this is a chance for you to elect a gloriously balanced font into the Microsoft Office hot seat.
The five shortlisted fonts that are after the chair that Calibri will soon vacate include Bierstadt, Grandview, Seaford, Skeena and Tenorite. Of the bunch, Tenorite is the shortest of the lot, with a squattish typeface with a classic yet modern take on sans serif fonts. Skeena, somehow, feels a tad too sharp and stylised as a calligraphy tool’s output for our liking – especially as a default font option. Seaford is a reliable option, but it is what many may call a bit boring – neither here and nor there, that is.
This leaves the pick between two of our favourites from Microsoft’s Calibri shortlist – Bierstadt and Grandview. The former comes with a contemporary take on the grotesque sans serif font genre, and while it adds the warmth of curved edges on apostrophes and standing letters, it also retains a rationalised character spacing and overall depth. Grandview too retains similar properties, but with key differences nonetheless. The biggest difference here is its more mechanical font aspect and wider character width, which depending on how you view font, may or may not be suited as a default Office font. All things considered, we vote for Bierstadt as our pick.
Back when Calibri replaced Times New Roman as the default font, Microsoft made a bigger jump from serif typefaces to sans serif. The new change will be less drastic and controversial, of course, and Microsoft further confirms that Calibri will continue to live on in the depths of the many fonts that Office comes with. So will each of the five fonts, but we all know the impact that a font being the default option can be on the overall scheme of things. The new font declaration comes as Microsoft is looking to gradually streamline its design approaches – across Windows, its icons and now Office too.