Fontvolution: Microsoft’s New Default Font Has Arrived

After 15 years, Microsoft has bid farewell to its beloved Calibri font, which has been the default font for its office applications. As technology and the way we communicate continue to evolve, Microsoft recognised the need for a new default font that would be better suited for higher-resolution screens. Thus, the search for the perfect font began, and Microsoft Design commissioned five new fonts: Bierstadt, Grandview, Seaford, Skeena, and Tenorite. After listening to user feedback, Microsoft has selected Bierstadt as the successor to Calibri, now renamed as Aptos.

Out with the old, in with the new

Aptos, designed by renowned type designer Steve Matteson, is set to become the new default font across Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Excel for millions of users. The font embodies the essence of the human experience, crafted with sharpness, uniformity, and great readability for display type. Its name was inspired by the unincorporated town of Aptos in Santa Cruz, California, known for its diverse landscapes that reflect the font’s versatility.

steve matteson

Steve Matteson, known for his work on the original Windows TrueType core fonts and Segoe, designed Aptos with a slight humanist touch. He aimed to create a font that combines universal appeal with a touch of humanity, evoking trust and engagement in readers. Aptos draws inspiration from mid-20th-century Swiss typography, characterised by simple letterforms, even strokes, and high readability. The font’s varying geometric shapes, clean-cut stem ends, and subtle circular squares within the letter contours enhance legibility, especially at small sizes.

Aptos

To add warmth and personality to Aptos, the designer incorporated subtle flourishes and details that distinguish it from neutral fonts. The font weights offer flexibility in setting different modes and guiding the reader’s attention. The lowercase “l” now features a distinctive tail, making it easily distinguishable from the capital “I.” The heads of “i” and “j” are represented by circular dots, adding a unique touch. The number “6” is single-stroked, while the number “8” is composed of two piled ellipticals.

Throughout the design process, the emphasis is placed on drawing letters by hand to preserve the handmade craftsmanship of the typeface. While digital refinement is necessary, starting with pencil and paper allows for a more tangible expression of the designer’s creativity and ensures that intricate details are not overlooked.

While Aptos takes the spotlight as the new default font, Microsoft hasn’t forgotten the other font contenders. Grandview, Seaford, Skeena, and Tenorite are still available for those who prefer them. For Calibri loyalists, the font will still be pre-pinned at the top of the new font menu. Microsoft understands that fonts are personal choices, and users can always select their preferred font as the default in settings.

Aptos is just one of the many features and updates coming to Microsoft 365, demonstrating Microsoft’s commitment to making its software more expressive and inclusive. With a newly designed font picker experience, new themes, colours, and backgrounds, Microsoft aims to provide users with a toolbox of creative options.

As Microsoft embarks on this font transition, they express their gratitude to users who have been part of their desktop endeavours for almost five decades. User feedback is highly valued, and Microsoft looks forward to hearing from users as they embrace the new Aptos font.

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