Calibri is the new Comic Sans

Stop using it.

Nov 4, 2016 · 3 min read

Calibri, although created in 2004, was first unleashed on the unknowing public in 2007 when it replaced Times New Roman as the default font on Microsoft Word. Bizarrely preset to 11-point and 1.15 line-spacing, this font was a statement against every convention TNR had represented, and it embodied the ultra-modern tech world that emerged from the beige 50-lb monitors of the late ’90s.

A humanist sans-serif was appropriate for tech in the new millennium, where our Apple computers came in transparent shades of neon plastic and the first iPhone debuted in 2007. It represented modernity, sleek design, and a dramatic change from Times New Roman whose familiarity came from its ubiquity in traditional print media like newspapers, books, and other ancient artifacts. As a devout Helvetica fanatic, I relish in the idealism of a good sans-serif and all the revolutionary utility it represents. Unfortunately, Calibri is no good sans-serif.

What iPods looked like in 2004 when Calibri was invented.

While it’s true it doesn’t have the antiquated serifs of TNR, Calibri has more in common with Comic Sans than it does with the classic chicness of Miedinger and Hoffmann’s neo-grotesque masterpiece. The design feature most offending to the senses is Calibri’s rounded terminals. As the three figures below illustrate, Calibri, like Comic Sans, is infantile and contradictory to the modern aesthetic essential to good sans-serif typefaces. The perfect mix of childish and outdated, the defining rounded terminals deserve to stay with the 1GB iPods of the last decade and allow the rest of us to progress on that never-ending trajectory toward good design.

Figure 1. All terminals are rounded in Calibri.
Figure 2. All terminals are rounded in Comic Sans.
Figure 3. No terminals are rounded in objectively good sans-serifs like Roboto.

In conclusion, for the love of the 21st century, please change your default font. Calibri is elementary and unprofessional and renders any document it composes (e.g. official statements, resumes, cover letters, reports, presentations) equally elementary and unprofessional. Fonts matter. Don’t @ me.

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