Verdana

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Verdana is a humanist sans-serif typeface designed by Matthew Carter for Microsoft Corporation, with hand-hinting done by Thomas 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 portmanteau of verdant (something green), and Ana (the name of Howlett's eldest daughter).[1]

Contents

Description

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, wide proportions, loose letter-spacing, large counters, and emphasized distinctions between similarly-shaped characters are chosen to increase legibility.

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.

Legal restrictions and prevalence

Released in 1996, Verdana was bundled with subsequent versions of the 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. The downloadable file is still available legally from a third-party web site; see the External links section. Verdana is also one of the bundled book-reading fonts on the iPad.

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