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Category Sans-serif
Designer(s) Matthew Carter
Foundry Microsoft Corporation

Verdana is a humanist sans-serif typeface designed by Matthew Carter for Microsoft Corporation, with hand-hinting done by Tom Rickner, then at Monotype. Demand for such a typeface was recognized by Virginia Howlett of Microsoft's typography group. The name "Verdana" is based on a mix of verdant (something green, as in the Seattle area and the Evergreen state, Washington), and Ana (the name of Howlett's eldest daughter).[1]


[edit] Description

Released in 1996, Verdana was bundled with subsequent versions of Microsoft's Windows operating system, as well as their Office and Internet Explorer software on both Windows and Mac OS. In addition, it was long available for download from Microsoft's web site allowing it to be used by any system supporting TrueType fonts. As a result, it is now installed on most desktop computers. The redistributable downloadable file is still available legally from a third-party web site; see the External links section.

Bearing similarities to humanist sans-serif typefaces such as Frutiger, Verdana was designed to be readable at small sizes on a computer screen. The lack of serifs, large x-height (heights of lower-case letters, as scaled to the letter x being exactly equal to one), wide proportions, loose letter-spacing, large counters (spaces inside partially enclosed portions of letters or symbols such as c, s, or curved quotation marks), and emphasized distinctions between similarly-shaped characters are chosen to increase legibility. According to one long-running survey,[2] the availability of Verdana is 97.46% on Windows (making it the fifth most common font on that platform) and 94.13% (sixth most common) on computers running Macintosh OS.

As an example of the attention given to making similar characters easily distinguishable, the digit 1 (one) in Verdana was given a horizontal base and a hook in the upper left to distinguish it from lowercase l (L) and uppercase I (i). This is similar to the digit 1 found in Morris Fuller Benton's typefaces News Gothic and Franklin Gothic which are sans-serif like Verdana.

[edit] Variants

Verdana Ref is a custom version of Verdana for use with Microsoft Reference. It is used in Microsoft Bookshelf 2000, Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe 99, Encarta Virtual Globe 99, Office 2000 Premium, Publisher 2000.

MS Reference Sans Serif is a derivative of Verdana Ref with bold and italic fonts. This font family is included with Microsoft Encarta.

Cyrillic: Аа Бб Вв Гг Дд Ђђ Ее Жж Зз Ии Јј Кк Лл Љљ Мм Нн Њњ Оо Пп Рр Сс Тт Ћћ Уу Фф Хх Цц Чч Џџ Шш

Tahoma is similar to Verdana but with tighter letterspacing. Nina, a Windows Mobile core font,[3] is a more condensed version of Tahoma and Verdana.[4]

[edit] Combining characters bug

Verdana (v. 2.43) uses an incorrect position for combining diacritical marks, causing them to display on the following character instead of the preceding. This makes it unsuitable for Unicode-encoded text such as Cyrillic or Greek. If Verdana is installed, diacritics below are displayed over the letter e, whereas they should have appeared over the letter a. This bug does not usually reveal itself with Latin letters. This is because some font display engines substitute sequences of base character + combining character with a precomposed character glyph.[5]

In Verdana:

The link is given below:

а̀е а́е а̃е а̉е | ὰε άε α̃ε α̉ε | àe áe ãe ảe

Shown: Latin characters, with combining marks that should be on the a; Greek characters, with combining marks that should be on the α; Latin precomposed characters.

On some platforms the Opera browser automatically fixes this Verdana bug. If the examples below and above look identical (and your browser's current font is not Verdana), combining marks are on the right places.

In your browser's current font:

а̀е а́е а̃е а̉е | ὰε άε α̃ε α̉ε | àe áe ãe ảe

(The first column is Cyrillic, the second column is Greek and the third column is Latin)

The problem is fixed in the version of Verdana issued with Windows Vista. It is also fixed in Verdana version 5.01 font on Windows XP by installing the European Union Expansion Font Update from Microsoft.[6]

[edit] Awards

The typeface was nominated for the Best Of British Design Award on BBC Two's The Culture Show on January 26, 2006.

[edit] See also

[edit] Note

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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