Calibri, the next most hated font?

Calibri, if you have no idea about, is the default font you see in Microsoft’s office suite. If you have been on Windows, even if you don’t have Microsoft Office installed (which I don’t assume a lot of us wouldn’t), you have been using this font for quite a while now. It’s not just in Microsoft Office, but also the default font in WordPad since Windows 7.
I don’t hate any font in particular. That being said, I don’t literally hate Comic Sans. I just hate what it turned out to be. The hatred for Comic Sans is a result in it’s over-usage for purposes beyond its aesthetic value. There was a time when everybody used Comic Sans instead of Times New Roman. That only saved Times New Roman from the hatred, but resulted in extreme hatred for Comic Sans. I have even seen it in a medical form for my dad. Really? Comic Sans! What message does a Comic Sans font convey when the message conveys an urgency or emergency? It’s silly to think that people didn’t pay attention to the name of the font itself. It is ‘comic’. Even Vincent Connare would argue why Comic Sans was hated so much – because it was overused for different meaningless purposes outside the scope of the font itself.

Things have seemed to change now. Comic Sans is of the past. I don’t see people using Comic Sans in documents, in emails (but sometimes in email signatures – argh!!). But what I foresee now, is the next Comic Sans – the next most hated font which will be Calibri. Why I say this is because – people still use Microsoft Office suite. Either in desktop, or in the web. Since the introduction of Microsoft Office 2007 in January 2007, we were introduced to a new font. It was clean and pleasant for the time. Everybody at that time was getting bored of Times New Roman and serif fonts. It was a change. It was welcoming.

But it is 2014 now. 7 years have passed. People still use Microsoft Office. Or at least people still deal with documents prepared in Microsoft Office. What is the result? Over use of Calibri everywhere. In documents, billboards, flex-cards, invitations. I just joined recently in a new company. The first thing I noticed when I got my offer-letter was the font used. Yeah, it turned out to be Calibri.

Calibri ftw! Are you least interested in font-family, font-face, ermm typography? Just go ahead to SlideShare, and search for some random presentation. I am very sure at least 6 out of 10 presentations you see must have used Calibri.

Maybe this is just my opinion. Helvetica was around since the 1950s. People aren’t bored of it. I deal with Helvetica almost everyday because I design for iOS. I am not bored of Helvetica. I still like it. It’s indeed an evergreen font.

As aforementioned, I don’t hate a particular font. I am not a naysayer attacking Calibri. It’s just that it pisses me off seeing Calibri everywhere (especially in presentations and print documents ALWAYS). I’m sure just like how a group of people (or let’s say an infinite groups of people) hate ComicSans at this point, there will be another group hating Calibri very soon. But why hate the font? Use the alternatives. There are 1000s fonts available for free. Like for example, Open Sans, Source Sans, Roboto, or Arimo.

The original article was featured on LinkedIn Pulse on 9th June 2014. Read it here

Update (11/07/17) : Calibri amidst political controversy in Pakistan. Read here.

12 thoughts on “Calibri, the next most hated font?

  1. I agree about Comic Sans. I hate it too! But as a default font, Calibri will be used in almost every document/presentation/spreadsheet out there. Are you saying to change default font on each iteration of the Office?

    1. No. I am not suggesting to change every iterations. Calibri does look good in a range of 12pt-16pt. But when it goes way up to 30pt in size, I guess it doesn’t turn out pretty- the kerning, the shape., etc., This is often seen on presentations and other print forms like ads, notices etc.,

  2. It’s nice to see how fonts makes a difference to you. It’s well ignored by people who fail to understand that the font used expresses the tone, the feel, the purpose of any text. About Comic Sans I remember when we were kids in school it was a “cool” font. And monotype corsiva was the most elegant (my younger siblings still find that font too pretty and use it almost everywhere). As I grew up, like you said the extensive use of both was nomore impressive. Both the fonts lacked simplicity and were not suitable for majority of the situations. I remember getting instructions from school to give all projects in Times New Roman. At present my employer also requires me to make reports in Times New Roman. I believe it’s an accepted ‘formal font’.
    However I don’t agree with your prediction that Calibri will be hated. I understand it is being extensively used. But just the fact that it’s not ‘very pretty’ or extensively used wouldn’t cause hatred. Rather I believe it will go a long way. It has that multipurpose use characteristics. It’s simple, easy to read, the rounded shape actually makes it pleasant for the eye. Moreover, it’s just so easily available and convenient to use for people who either have no time or do not pay a lot of attention to use the most appropriate font. So it’s more like a multipurpose font. Again, it’s just my personal opinion that Calibri won’t be hated.

    1. Hey, sorry to have replied late. You seem to have good interest, and knowledge in fonts. I’m impressed. Like you said it’s my personal opinion on Calibri. I see it overly used, especially at workplaces. I only think Calibri looks good in digital documents, and not in print. 🙂

  3. Completely agree with your thoughts on Calibri, Prasil. In fact I found this article after searching “what does the Calibri font say about you?” on Google!

    I think the underlying problem is that nobody is even remotely aware that Microsoft’s choice of a default font for documents doesn’t necessarily have to be the best choice for YOUR document. Formal documents will probably look considerably better in a classic serif typeface like Georgia and signage will prefer a meatier sans-serif like a 75+ Helvetica, DIN PRO, etc. The choices are endless, and the built in selection that comes with your OS of choice usually has all you would need to get started. I think the key is that whatever document you work on, THINK about what you want to express. And for people like us who appreciate fonts, I think it’s a mistake to even CONSIDER using the default font for anything used to describe ourselves or our companies (as in a Resume or company paper).

    Then there’s the problem going BEYOND Microsoft Word. I personally believe Verdana is the ideal font for Excel, and Microsoft’s own Segoe UI (in Semilight and Semibold weights) are the best for PowerPoint. This is probably just me, but I think it was a mistake to choose Calibri as the default font across the board.

    Great read 🙂

    1. Hey Gregory, you are right with the font choices. We have lot of font options to choose from. Although I am not a fan of Segoe as it looks much like Frutiger.

      Calibri is just not that good on print, the next Comic Sans perhaps!

  4. Yes Helvetica is indeed beautiful, but you gotta pay for it. The majority of mortals just doesn’t have any knowledge about fonts and I am glad that Microsoft came out with Calibri. Why? Because the older default fonts such as Time New Roman or Arial are just less pleasing to my eyes than Calibri is. I wish people would pay more attention to font, but you can’t expect that because they have most of the time more important things to do than caring about than choosing the proper font. One thing I always found weird is that Time New Roman is most of the time the “default” serif type although Garamond always came out free with every version of office (to my knowledge) and Garamond is so much more pleasing to the eye (in print) than Times New Roman. Oh well…

  5. I really hate Calibri. No matter how big you make it, it just looks squinchy. It reminds me of the tight-lipped woman from down the street who never let me (or anyone else in town) forget that when I was two I escaped the house and walked to the Post Office wearing just my underwear and constantly reminded me that my sister was prettier and my brother was smarter. I usually use Arial 12 or Helvetica 12, with Times New Roman 12 for contracts. But there are lots of nice fonts, so I don’t understand people who only use one. It’s like wearing the same outfit for every occasion.

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