Archive: July 15th, 2013

The Arial Font

The type on this blog is styled in the Arial font. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:

Arial, sometimes marketed or displayed in software as Arial MT, is a sans-seriftypeface and set of computer fonts. Fonts from the Arial family are packaged with all versions of Microsoft Windows, some other Microsoftsoftware applications,[1]AppleMac OS X[2] and many PostScript 3 computer printers.[3] The typeface was designed in 1982 by a 10-person team, led by Robin Nicholas and Patricia Saunders, for Monotype Typography.

The Arial typeface comprises many styles: Regular, Italic, Medium, Medium Italic, Bold, Bold Italic, Black, Black Italic, Extra Bold, Extra Bold Italic, Light, Light Italic, Narrow, Narrow Italic, Narrow Bold, Narrow Bold Italic, Condensed, Light Condensed, Bold Condensed, and Extra Bold Condensed. The extended Arial type family includes even more styles: Rounded (Light, Regular, Bold, Extra Bold); Monospaced (Regular, Oblique, Bold, Bold Oblique). Many of these have been issued in multiple font configurations with different degrees of language support. The most widely used and bundled Arial fonts are Arial Regular, Italic, Bold, Bold Italic, along with the same styles of Arial Narrow, plus Arial Black and Black Italic. More recently Arial Rounded has also been widely bundled.

Hmm. I wonder what the history of the Arial font is:

IBM debuted two printers for the in-office publishing market in 1982: the 240-DPI 3800-3 laserxerographic printer, and the 600-DPI 4250 electro-erosion laminate typesetter.[8][9] Monotype was under contract to supply bitmap fonts for both printers.[5][8] The fonts for the 4250, delivered to IBM in 1983,[10] included Helvetica, which Monotype sub-licensed from Linotype.[8] For the 3800-3, Monotype substituted Helvetica with Arial.[8] The hand-drawn Arial artwork was completed in 1982 at Monotype by a 10-person team led by Robin Nicholas and Patricia Saunders[4][11] and was digitized by Monotype at 240 DPI expressly for the 3800-3.[12]

IBM named the font Sonoran Sans Serif due to licensing restrictions and the manufacturing facility’s location (Tucson, Arizona, in the Sonoran Desert),[5][13] and announced in early 1984 that the Sonoran Sans Serif family, “a functional equivalent of Monotype Arial,” would be available for licensed use in the 3800-3 by the fourth quarter of 1984. There were initially 14 point sizes, ranging from 6 to 36, and four style/weight combinations (Roman medium, Roman bold, italic medium, and italic bold), for a total of 56 fonts in the family. Each contained 238 graphic characters, providing support for eleven national languages: Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish. Monotype and IBM later expanded the family to include 300-DPI bitmaps and characters for additional languages.

In 1989, Monotype produced PostScript Type 1 outline versions of several Monotype fonts,[10] but an official PostScript version of Arial was not available until 1991.[citation needed] In the meantime, a company called Birmy marketed a version of Arial in a Type 1-compatible format.[7][14]

In 1990, Robin Nicholas, Patricia Saunders[4][11] and Steve Matteson developed a TrueType outline version of Arial which was licensed to Microsoft.[10][15][16]

In 1992, Microsoft chose Arial to be one of the four core TrueType fonts in Windows 3.1, announcing the font as an “alternative to Helvetica”.[10][11][17]

Sounds like a lot of work went into the creation of the Arial font. As a result, I won’t waste a single character of it writing about Jordany Valdespin.

But if you’d like to hear how he blew up after his recent demotion to Triple-A, you can read about it here.