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Old 10-17-2005, 01:19 PM   #1
ktinkel
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Default Tahoma, Verdana, Trebuchet MS

There is an interesting discussion on the source of these three fonts over on Typophile. Vincent Connare, who designed Trubuchet and Comic Sans when he worked for Microsoft, and Si Daniels of Microsoft, explain how the three fonts are related. Matthew Carter designed both Verdana and Tahoma.
Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs(Verdana)
Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs (Tahoma)
Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs (Trebuchet)
The narrower, more tightly spaced Tahoma was intended for buttons, icon labels, etc. It was meant for small type sizes and un-anti-aliased text and has no oblique form. It has a large character set, with Hebrew, Arabic, Thai, as well as Latin and Cyrillic sets.

Verdana was designed and hinted for screen use in text sizes from the beginning, and it has two weights, both with obliques.

Trebuchet was also designed for the web, but purposely differentiated from Verdana, with slightly higher ascenders and different details. It too has bold and obliques.

BTW, according to Microsoft’s Daniels, they “did cringe” when they saw Tahoma being used for continuous text on the web.

In case you were curious.

   
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Old 10-17-2005, 08:56 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by ktinkel
The narrower, more tightly spaced Tahoma was intended for buttons, icon labels, etc. It was meant for small type sizes and un-anti-aliased text and has no oblique form. It has a large character set, with Hebrew, Arabic, Thai, as well as Latin and Cyrillic sets.
Which explains why several years ago my international clients kept sending me the Arabic translations of English and French packaging/labeling text that they'd done themselves using Tahoma. It came standard on their Windows systems. Made for some hoop jumping, since Macs didn't come with Tahoma and without it I couldn't do anything with those files of Arabic text.

   
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Old 10-18-2005, 05:55 AM   #3
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Which explains why several years ago my international clients kept sending me the Arabic translations of English and French packaging/labeling text that they'd done themselves using Tahoma. It came standard on their Windows systems. Made for some hoop jumping, since Macs didn't come with Tahoma and without it I couldn't do anything with those files of Arabic text.
Apple doesn’t directly ship Tahoma, but it does ship with MS Office and perhaps with Explorer. I am surprised you didn’t have it, as I think I discovered it on my system back in OS 9 days.

But it was a bit of a stealth font — appeared without discussion. Now that I understand how it was meant to be used, I guess that makes sense.

   
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Old 10-18-2005, 05:59 AM   #4
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Well, when I was having to deal with those translation files I was using an ancient version of Office, '98, and I'd bet Tahoma came along after that. In any case, I searched my OS9 systems (OSX was out, but I was stuck on 9 with my old machines) and no Tahoma was to be found.

   
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Old 10-18-2005, 01:07 PM   #5
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I cringe when I see Tahoma italicized in PowerPoint presentations and theater programs because the letters slant too far to the right.

There is another member of the Tahoma family, the condensed font, Nina. As I recall, it was designed for the Pocket PC, and Microsoft did not release it for other platforms. It's now available from Ascender.
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Old 10-18-2005, 01:24 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Gerry Kowarsky
I cringe when I see Tahoma italicized in PowerPoint presentations and theater programs because the letters slant too far to the right.

There is another member of the Tahoma family, the condensed font, Nina. As I recall, it was designed for the Pocket PC, and Microsoft did not release it for other platforms. It's now available from Ascender.
I didn’t realized that Nina was related to Tahoma, but I like it, and was hoping it would go into wide (i.e., free, from Microsoft) distribution so it could be used on web pages. But evidently it too is not intended for that.

We are crying out for a narrower, still readable sans, for the web. [grump]

   
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