Say Hi to Cambria

Welcome to Per’Font’ Match!

Our first contestant works for a large software company in Seattle, Washington. She’s a hardworking career girl who excels at word processing and web design, enjoys long paragraphs with friends and loves to curl up with a good book in her downtime. Say a big ‘Hi’ to… Cambria!

Yes, this is Cambria and we are told she will not only be included in the new Longhorn OS, but has also landed the plum job of being the default Microsoft Word font. Hopefully that will mean Mac Office will get her too.

Farewell poor Times New Roman. It was a blast.

And it doesn’t end there from a type perspective. As Anne Van Wagener tells us, she will be joined in Longhorn by her friends:

  • Calibri – an easy-going but smart sans-serif
  • Candara – a serious young san-serif with old fashioned values
  • Consolas – a monospaced geekfont that cares
  • Constantia – a charming, approachable serif that’s easy to like
  • Corbel – an incisive, no-nonsense san-serif with a gentle side

They all look great. Nice work Microsoft! (you’re still not off the hook for the PNG thing though)

Of course, even when Longhorn is released it doesn’t change much in the short term, but, as the years roll on we are likely to be seeing a lot more of this bunch.

I’m already looking forward to writing my first ‘font-family: Cambria, Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif’.

Although, I guess that was it. Not quite as nice as I’d hoped. ;)

Still, certainly something for web designers to look forward to.

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  • Metalish

    This might just be me, but is this a little confusing? I got that Cambria is a font, just was is the purpose of this article. To introduce a new font?

  • http://www.crunch42.com/ crunch42

    How queer to put Cambria in front of a list of sans-serif fonts in the font-family declaration when it’s a serif font.

  • http://www.sitepoint.com AlexW

    [QUOTE=Metalish]This might just be me, but is this a little confusing? I got that Cambria is a font, just was is the purpose of this article. To introduce a new font?[/QUOTE]

    I was taking a little poetic license, but the major point is that Microsoft is the only entity in the world that can not only create a font but also ensure it makes it onto a large percentage of computers around the globe.

    This means in a year or two, we can use Cambria (and probably to a slightly lesser extent it’s sibling fonts) in a site design and reasonably expect a lot of users to have it installed. Exactly how many is hard to guess, but every new Windows PC and each new Office installation should have the font.

  • http://www.hurtdidit.com hurtdidit

    How queer to put Cambria in front of a list of sans-serif fonts in the font-family declaration when it’s a serif font.

    LOL, that was my first thought, too! ;)

    Good blog though, Alex–nice to see a healthy dose of humor mixed into an otherwise-bland topic.

    Goodby TNR! Although, truth be told, I left you for another serif, long ago…

  • http://www.sitepoint.com AlexW

    Yes, I wasn’t paying quite enough attention to what I was writing. Oh well, it’s Friday.

  • Dangermouse

    wow, im definately getting Longhorn just for that font 8-)

  • Andy Jones

    What is the point of making it the default font in Word? Like lots of Microsoft stuff it just does not make sense to me. This font is basically a screen font, yes? Optimized for on-screen reading. TNR is optimised for print. Surely people who use Word use it to create documents that are printed. Yes? So why make it the default?

    If the font is also OpenType then the font can easily be transferred to a Mac. OpenType fonts were designed to be cross-platform. Or has Microsoft decided that with their ‘products’ this will not be the case?

  • mx2k

    times new roman is a print font, but mostly for newspapers, I rarely see times being used much else where these days, despite alot of design schools still claiming to be best font for reading/print, i see alot of sans-serifs being used and more modern serif fonts vs old school times

  • Guest

    MS have presumably given them all similar names to make them feel like a family. With my memory, it just means I’ll keep getting them confused…

  • http://www.stillthinkinghq.com CubitGuy

    Anything to get away from TNR will make me happy!

  • http://www.stillthinkinghq.com CubitGuy

    Anything to get away from TNR will make me happy!

  • http://www.stillthinkinghq.com CubitGuy

    Note to self: Don’t double click

  • carlosbernal

    Double clicking and thinking outloud might be a mental disorder.

    I hope Cambria won’t become the new Verdana then I’ll get sick of that one too!

  • http://www.deanclatworthy.com Dean C

    Am I missing something? It’s just a font people ;)!

  • http://www.sitepoint.com AlexW

    What is the point of making it the default font in Word? Like lots of Microsoft stuff it just does not make sense to me. This font is basically a screen font, yes? Optimized for on-screen reading. TNR is optimised for print. Surely people who use Word use it to create documents that are printed. Yes? So why make it the default?

    You make a reasonable point, Andy. My guess would be that the design brief for these fonts would have been that they need to look great in both environments. Although lots of Word documents are ultimately printed, they also spend a lot of time on screen. For instance, most of our book authors work in Word, and these drafts may go through a dozen incarnations with rewrites, tech edits, english edits and other changes. It’s relatively late in process that it all gets converted to ‘DocBook’ format. Obviously it’s pretty important that this text is easy to work with onscreen. TNR was never that.

    Certainly a quote from John Hudson, the designer of Constantia seems to indicate he was trying to build a great screen & print typeface.

    I would be thrilled to see Constantia being used for both the print and electronic media versions of a publication.

  • bee

    I enjoyed this entry, having worked with the term font since the stone age of typography when we did our font changes on a phototypesetter by slipping a film strip over a revolving drum. I have an abiding interest in anything written beautifully (this naturally excludes Times New Roman) and am delighted that MS has chosen to FINALLY relieve us of the Times boredom. (No reflection on New York, of course.) So. . . can we see some samples?

    PS. Could you expound on Longhorn? Of course, in Wisconsin this refers to CHEESE, which could be referred to as an Operating System, since it keeps that fair state alive. HAHAHAHA

  • Ewout de Graaf

    There is a much simpler way to let 90% of the internetworked world get a new font on their machine: Include it in service pack 3 for Windows XP (if there will ever be one).
    But naturally Msoft will not do this, because then less people will have an argument to get Longhorn…

  • http://www.hurtdidit.com hurtdidit

    I would guess that the whole font family will become available online for download, be it legal or not. Which, really, will be in the best interest of web designers everywhere, because we can’t justify using a font if only a minority of users will see it!

    I would get more excited over Cambria, as it appears to be a nice, clean font…but realistically, since everyone and their dogs will be using it for their default font, it’ll get old and bland, FAST.

  • http://www.sitepoint.com AlexW

    I would get more excited over Cambria, as it appears to be a nice, clean font…but realistically, since everyone and their dogs will be using it for their default font, it’ll get old and bland, FAST.

    I don’t know about that. Body typefaces simply can’t be ‘out-there’ or they just don’t work. They have to be 98% function, 2% personality, especially online where there are even more challenges to readability than there are in traditional print. Look at the differences between the body font on the NYT and the London Times. It’s very subtle.

    I think you can afford to push a little more personality into headers and subheaders, where you know size will help you get the message through.

    All-in-all, the technology limitations that have been forced on web font usage have probably been a good thingin general. Less experienced webmasters can try to set their 11px body font in ‘Ye Olde English’ or ‘Chicken Scratch’ but we all see it in TNR or Arial. OK, I know, hardly something to crow about, but it’s an improvement none the less.

  • http://www.hurtdidit.com hurtdidit

    Oh certainly I agree that limiting the number of fonts helps for those kiddie/hobby sites, but by the same token, it sure would be nice to offer a little more variety to our clients. :)

    My vote is for “Chicken Scratch” to be the next default Word font. ;)

  • http://www.sitepoint.com AlexW

    Unfortunately I think I’ve got “Chicken Scratch” installed as my default handwriting these days. I wrote so neatly as a boy too…. Use it or lose it, I guess ;)