Microsoft It named the next default font for its productivity apps such as Word and Outlook after testing five candidate fonts for 2021 launch. Since then it has been known as Bierstadt. Now it has a new name: Aptos.
The move amounts to subtle improvements to some of the world’s most popular software. Microsoft hasn’t taken such a step lightly, as its Office products account for almost 24% of its revenue. They are growing faster than other business units such as video game content and search advertising as Microsoft seeks to attract more end users and get existing customers to spend more.
If the core apps look fresh, Microsoft can make a better argument when it comes time to renew a Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) subscription.The company is now ready to do so, after accept input Information about five new fonts from end users.
“Today, we begin the final phase of this major change, with Aptos beginning to serve as the new default font in Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Excel for hundreds of millions of users,” wrote Si Daniels, principal program manager for Office Design at Microsoft. one blog post Published Thursday. “And, over the next few months, it will become the default for all of our customers.”
For users accustomed to Aptos, Aptos will remain in the list of fonts under the old Bierstadt name. Users can also choose to set any other font as default. These include older standards such as Times New Roman, Arial, and even Calibri, which has been the default since 2007 (before Office 365 launched in 2011). Many thought Microsoft was a friendlier place since Satya Nadella replaced Steve Ballmer as CEO in 2014, but when someone started using The updated identity doesn’t necessarily reflect Nadella’s font when composing emails in Outlook.
In 2019, Microsoft asked type designer Steve Matteson to develop a grotesque sans-serif-style typeface that included the classic Helvetica. Matteson said in an interview with CNBC this week that the company has not disclosed that it is considering it as a possible successor to Calibri.
At the time, Matteson was still working at the font company Monotype, and he and his colleagues provided Microsoft with four or five proposals for consideration, but did not include the names of the contributors. That’s important, he said, because the designer doesn’t want his relationship with Microsoft to influence the software maker’s decision.
Matteson’s association with Microsoft dates back to the 1990s. He helped develop TrueType fonts for Microsoft Windows 3.1 and created the Segoe fonts that Microsoft uses for its current logo and marketing materials.He also contributed to the aptly named typeface Kurtz. That wasn’t his proudest moment, he said.
Of the bunch Matteson and his colleagues sent to Microsoft, they chose his, then simply known as Grotesque No. 2. Then Microsoft gave it a code name, Koyuk. Then he came up with the name Bierstadt, after a mountain in Colorado where he lived. In German, Bierstadt means “beer city”.
Some people didn’t take the name seriously, and Microsoft decided to design a new typeface for the font, Matteson said. He thought of Aptos, an unincorporated town in Santa Cruz County, California.
“Aptos has a unique coastal climate, with beaches that stretch down to redwood forests,” he said. “What I love about California is the diversity. It shows me that you can have all kinds of moods and experiences. Likewise, at Aptos, you can speak in all kinds of voices without distorting the message.”
Matteson came up with a serif version of the font, as well as a monospaced version that could be used to enter code. He worked on currency symbols and support for Greek and Cyrillic. And he works with Microsoft to make sure it works well in different scenarios. If you’re converting a cell in an Excel spreadsheet from Calibri to Aptos, the numbers in the cell are less likely to spill over into adjacent cells, he said.
He hasn’t seen all the reactions to the font yet. But he observed people saying that in Bierstadt, a lowercase L and an uppercase I would not be mistaken for each other.
Still, Matteson has nothing but respect for Calibri and its creator, Lucas de Groot.
“I can understand Microsoft wanting to make changes, but I don’t see anything wrong with Calibri,” he said.
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