V is for Verdana


Verdana was designed by Matthew Carter for Microsoft in 1996 and has subsequently been distributed with both Windows and Mac operating systems. Verdana is the sans serif partner to serif Georgia—a pairing of typefaces suited to screen use. Verdana has a large x-height so lower case characters look bigger—but not so big that you can’t tell them apart from upper case characters—and it is generously spaced so it can be read at small sizes. The bold weight is thicker than many other bolds—also making it good for on-screen legibility. Verdana even made news when Ikea, in an attempt to unify its branding, ditched Futura as its printed catalogue typeface. The Verdanagate controversy caused outrage, the New York Times going so far as to say that it ‘is so offensive to many because it seems like a slap at the principles of design by a company that has been hailed for its adherence to them’. Hmm. I guess that’s a whole other debate.

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