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Letters to the World » Arial, Schmarial

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Arial, Schmarial

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 10:34 pm

I remember, when I got my first Windows machine, having tried to find the Helvetica clone in its font menu. There had to be one, right? I eventually stumbled across Arial, which was the closest thing I could manage to find– yet to my typographically nitpicky eye, it wasn’t close enough. The lowercase a, r and t, the capital G and R, and the number 1— they were all noticeably off somehow. And it annoyed me. Yes, I’m easily annoyed, I know.

It turns out that typographer Mark Simonson agrees with me on this subject; check out his quite interesting article "The Scourge of Arial".

What’s really annoying is that about half the signs on the Mercer University campus are in Helvetica (the older ones) and half of them are in Arial (the new ones). Grr. Am I the only one around here who notices such things?

And incidentally, for more typographical quibbles, check out Simonson’s article "Typecasting" on the anachronistic use of fonts in movies.


  1. I hate Arial too. And no, you’re probably not the only one who noticed the signs. Those of us who like fonts tend to REALLY like fonts, and we’re out there…

    You, OTOH, use the always tasteful Trebuchet, which has fabulous “g”s (I also used Trebuchet…)

    Comment by MaryIsobel — 21-May-2002 @ 3:52 pm

  2. Yeah. Trebuchet, Georgia and Verdana are some of the best-looking freeware fonts around. I agree with what may typographical mavens have said about them: for once, Microsoft has done something absolutely right. 🙂

    Oh, and my browser default font is set to Georgia rather than Times New Roman. Times is just so…clichéd. (I also prefer books printed in fonts besides Times; Palatino I find especially appealing, for some reason. But that’s another story.)

    Comment by codeman38 — 21-May-2002 @ 11:43 pm

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