The Typographic Legacy of Microsoft

Microsoft isn’t the first company you’d associate with typography, but their fonts have done more to democratize typesetting than any company in the last half century. Today we look at that history through 10 of their most famous and infamous fonts.

0:00 Microsoft’s typographic legacy
0:54 What is typography?
3:57 Segoe UI (and Frutiger, Myriad)
8:13 Calibri
13:02 Core fonts for the Web
14:58 A history of Truetype fonts
18:37 Trebuchet MS
21:51 Georgia
25:01 Impact
27:18 Verdana (and Tahoma)
32:18 Comic Sans
34:35 The “OG” Truetype Trinity
35:15 Times New Roman
39:32 Courier New
41:52 Arial
44:42 A legacy which endures today

First of all, just what is typography? #Typography is everything about written communication that’s visual. On screen or off. As instruments are to musical performance, #fonts are to typography.

While #Microsoft may not have pioneered all of the underlying technology like Truetype, or had the most original designs, their sheer market dominance meant that their influence was unavoidable through the era of the desktop pc. It’s easy to forget in 2020, that Microsoft was once considered the biggest of all big tech companies – and sued as monopoly under US anti-trust laws. For multiple decades nearly everything important in computing was either instigated by or was made in reaction to Microsoft.

A video essay by

The font listed as Recia is incorrect (the file was missing so what is shown on-screen is Lucida Grande) the correct font can be seen here (affiliate link for commercial font):…

Further resources:

Font format wars:

The Font Wars—PostScript, TrueType, the Mac and the success of desktop publishing by Typography Guru

TrueType: The Digital Font Technology, lecture by Eliyezer Kohen

Type Specimens – 1921 – Miller & Carter…

Screen-optimised Serif Body fonts

Merriweather (Free)…

Bitter (Free)

Recia (Commercial – NB: affiliate link)…

AMOLED vs IPS LCD vs Retina vs Infinity Display – Gary Explains
Android Authority

These Are Not Pixels: Revisited
by Technology Connections

Microsoft Bob Experience: Was It Really THAT Bad? – LGR

Metal type:

Monotype casting machine at Arion Press in San Francisco
from Pino Trogu (Apologies I misspelled your name in the video)!

Farewell Etaoin Shrdlu (the end of metal type at the New York Times)…

The Farewell’ Screenplay Breakdown: Lulu Wang Compares First To Final Drafts | Vanity Fair

TechAltar: Why Microsoft partners with rivals (Linux, PlayStation, Chromium, etc.)

Apologies to Brian Brushwood. 😉…

🛒My YouTube Gear…
🛒Amazing AI Upscaling

Music from Streambeats and Epidemic Sound…

About agogo22

Director of Manchester School of Samba at
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