Edited by: Prith Mallick
Last updated: January 18, 2023, 11:26 PM IST
The US State Department announced on Wednesday that the “Times New Roman” typeface will be phased out in all official communications in favor of “Calibri,” citing issues related to “disability issues.”
In a statement from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, department employees were notified of the change with the subject line “The Times (New Roman) Are a-Changing,” according to a tweet from The Washington Post reporter John Hudson.
big news for font freaks: Times New Roman is being phased out at the State Department and replaced by Calibri. Secretary Blinken sent a telegram to all embassies today to instruct staff to stop sending him Times New Roman papers. Subject: “The Times (New Roman) is changing” pic.twitter.com/HENLbRH3UQ— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) January 17, 2023
“Secretary Blinken has instructed the department to use Calibri, a Sans Serif font in 14-point typeface, for all paper submitted to the Executive Secretariat,” the statement said.
It calls for the popular font to be phased out from Feb. 6 and orders “domestic offices and bureaus, as well as overseas posts, to also use Calibri as the default font for all requested papers in support of creating a more accessible department.” “
Hudson further stated that the change was not due to aesthetics, but to issues for individuals with disabilities. “Apparently the change was made because serif typefaces create “problems for persons with disabilities,” according to the cable I obtained,” he added.
New Serif in town
Calibri, a digital sans serif font, which has been the default font for Microsoft since 2007 when it replaced Times New Roman, will be replaced throughout Microsoft Office in 2021.
In 2021, Microsoft has deployed five original custom fonts to eventually replace Calibri as the default, these were: Tenorite, Bierstadt, Skeena, Seaford, and Grandview.
Announcing the 2021 decision, Microsoft had explained: “A standard font is often the first impression we make; it is the visual identity we present to other people through our resumes, documents or emails. And just as people and the world around us age and grow, so do our ways of expressing themselves.”
The recent decision by the US State Department is a major shift after 20 years and goes back to the big jump from serif fonts to sans-serifs, a shift that began in 2004 when Times New Roman 14 emerged as the “new” font on the scene, replacing Courier New 12.
According to an Entrepreneur report, the popularity of Serif fonts is also related to accessibility issues for people with disabilities using Optical Character Recognition technology or screen readers.
Calibri’s designer, Lucas de Groot, created Calibri in the early 2000s as part of a collection of fonts for enhanced screen reading, according to The Wired.
After Microsoft launched its ClearType technology in the 2000s, which optimized resolutions on LCD screens, fonts such as Calibri made text easier to read.
What about Times New Roman?
Times New Roman was created by British typographer Stanley Morison for the Times of London in 1932, according to the New York Public Library.
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