Microsoft intends to give Office new standard fonts – all from the cloud?

[German]Microsoft is currently looking for a new standard font for its Office modules. At least that is what emerges from a tweet and a blog post from 28.4.2021. However, the whole thing raises more questions than it answers. If my gut instincts aren't deceiving, this is another step toward the cloud. Here's some information and thoughts on it.


The topic came to my attention yesterday, but I didn't plan to take it up on the blog at first. But Bolko's German comment in the article on PDF security made me rethink.

What is it about?

It started with a tweet from Microsoft asking what the next standard font for Word or for Microsoft Office should be. Microsoft wants to replace the previously used standard font Calibri. 

Font for MS Office

Microsoft has provided five special fonts for the user to choose from. In a longer blog post, Microsoft describes this request. Calibri has been the standard font for everything to do with Microsoft since 2007, writes Redmond. This font has replaced Times New Roman in Microsoft Office. Now the developers think it's time to go in a new direction. To that end, Microsoft we commissioned five original custom fonts (Bierstadt, Tenorite, Skeena, Seaford, and Grandview) to replace Calibri as the default.

Microsoft says that the font someone likes best, but doesn't select as the next default, will remain available alongside Calibri and other favorite fonts in the selection for fonts in Microsoft 365 Office apps and beyond.


Is it heading to the cloud?

Microsoft  wrote in its blog post that the five font families would be available in all Microsoft 365 apps from the cloud. That set off a red light for me – assuming the whole thing holds up at the end of the day and the fonts have to be loaded from the cloud, yes, that has a rat's tail of implications.

  • Further use of documents with these fonts by third-party applications would be made more difficult (besides technical issues, there are also licensing issues) and it would amount to another lock-in.
  • Reloading fonts from the (Microsoft) cloud immediately raises the question of GDPR compliance. In 2018, website operators was forced to stop Google Fonts from being reloaded into websites for GDPR reasons. With Microsoft Office and cloud fonts, that would come back trough the backdoor.

Bottom line: it's still in the selection process, after all – but I'm not sure I like the direction it's going. If it comes down to the cloud as a font bunker, that would be a no-go. And all because some designer at Microsoft thinks something new is needed? How do you guys see it?

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2 Responses to Microsoft intends to give Office new standard fonts – all from the cloud?

  1. Sun Wu-kong says:

    Andale Mono

    The Microsoft default seems to be based on narrow minded artsy preference that has no basis in reality. Take for example dates. Astronomers have worked out a very useful standard for time / date measurement the Julian Day which is a day count that takes into account most of recorded history. Microsoft's version is a total disaster, and follows the trends we see in society, representing things that can be counted in a jumbled manner befitting muddled headedness. This is built on the illogical order of dates used in the western world mm,dd,yyyy is an example producing nothing of use. yyyymmdd would last unchanged to they year 9999, and present us with a way of ordering dates in numerical order for nearly 10,000 years.

    So when it comes to changing fonts we should consider what are letters good for? Well we use them to communicate. Should we then chose a font that distinguish the letter 1 (one) from the letter "L" or "I". Zero "O" from 0. Andale Mono should be the new default font for Microsoft Office, and the world. Clarity in communications should be a standard. In the military people can get killed by mistakes in distinguishing one from l or I and Zero (0) from "O" (oh).
    (this example does not work in this window because the font is not Andale Mono and it can not represent a one from the letter l or the letter Oh from 0 without peeking at the ascii).

  2. P.D. says:

    A very long time ago, a book on a certain kind of mysticism came out with an unusual title:
    "The Cloud of Unknowing".

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