The NeoSmart Files

A Comprehensive Look at the New Microsoft (Vista) Fonts

With every new version of Windows or Office, Microsoft Corporation seems to generally like to package a couple of small freebies that make it a sweeter deal, after all, as they say: it’s the little things that count. Windows Vista and Office 2007 are no exception: not only is Microsoft apparently trying to make up for lost years (almost 6 for Vista, and four for Office), and it is doing a great job! At NeoSmart we’ve only had praise for the Office team, and we feel that the Microsoft Typography team is at the very least on-par with them, if not even higher… Once you’ve read this review, we’re sure you’ll agree.

The following are examples of 10 new Vista/Office 2007 fonts, taken in Office 2007 at 11 pts. Although Microsoft has made quite a few more new ones, these are the primarily Latin-based scripts that ship with every install, regardless of regional options. Notice that the majority of the fonts are sas-serif (at stark contrast with the theoretically more legible serif scripts for longer articles), and that, for some inexplicably odd reason, too many of them start with the letter C! (Not that we have anything against the letter C, but again, why?!)

All of these fonts have been optimized for screen-readability by the experts at the Microsoft Typography Labs; and for the first time in history, it is possible to have fonts that display great on the screen and look just as well on paper, thanks to the advanced ani-aliasing features and OpenType libraries employed.

Click each font to view a larger screen capture with a wider variety of letters, numbers, and characters.

This is Calibri. Calibri is the new default font for Office 2007, poised to take Times New Roman out of its traditional alpha-male location. For the first time, MS Word users will have a sas-serif font by default. It looks professional, but not at the cost of aesthetics.

Cambria is a really nice new font that ships with Office 2007, and is primarily meant for titles, though it works great for other stuff too. It’s not a true serif font, but then again, it certainly isn’t sas-serif, but an interesting mix. Extremely well-formed characters with excellent spacing lend themselves to giving Cambria a very unique feel, and making it an ideal font to kick-start Office 12 with.

Candara is a new “exquisite” font, for lack of a better word. It’s nice, flowing, shapely design doesn’t leave much to be desired, and adds a lot to any logo (think taglines!). It’s well-spaced and embraces a new “thin-style” typography.

Consolas is the new Lucida Console, following the “Vista-trend” it’s a sans-serif font with the same rounded appeal, but nevertheless retains the traditional “code” feel, with monospaced characters and a “boxy” look.

Constantia is slightly reminiscent of the old-fashioned typefaces, but with a new twist that makes it perfect for essays and articles (pay attention to the ‘y,’ ‘j,’ and the ‘f’). Just like Cambria, it’s a mix between sans-serif and serif, and makes for an excellent display and a fresh look.

Corbel is also a new font that comes with Vista. It’s thin, spidery letters make a nice contrast on a wordy page. It’s yet another sans-serif font (also “thin-style”), and well-suited for both logo work and articles.

Nyala is a nice font, especially for art designs. It feels a bit like Candara, but it’s different enough to make it special. Great for logos and ID kits, Nyala preserves the true art of calligraphy and mixes it with technology of today. With a smaller pixel-size it may not be the ideal “essay font” but it does a great job nevertheless.

Segoe UI is a much-controversial and very popular new font first introduced in Windows Vista builds, and then made its way to Office 2007. Sleek and well-formed, Segoe UI is the new default for captions and titles in Vista, hence the slightly larger pixel-size, and the distancing between letters; as such it’s ill-suited for anything else (e.g. essays).

Along with the Segoe Family comes Segoe Print, a very nice font with easy-to-read informal characters. While being well-formed, it retains a “friendly” feel, and is excellent for certain dialogs in programs – and the notepad sidebar gadget!

Segoe Script is another Segoe-Family Member, and it has rather amazing connecting algorithms that decide the shape of each letter per its location – but just like cursive handwriting, it’s not the easiest to read.

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