Verdana and Georgia's prevalence is no accident: they were distributed widely, then relied upon by web designers for years. But their ubiquity has merit: Georgia and Verdana were two of the first typefaces created specifically for screen use. They were born from the brain and hand of distinguished type designer Matthew Carter, crafted for screen readability, especially at small sizes. The production was crowned with Tom Rickner’s exhaustive hinting for pristine display in any rendering environment.
It was inevitable that these two faces would find their way into print. Unfortunately, the qualities that made them great on screen made them less than ideal on paper, especially when large. The small number of styles also limited the families’ flexibility. Many organizations, like IKEA, which call for these typefaces in their style guides have only had two weights to work with. That can’t be easy for a company with a 376-page catalog and huge facilities with complex tagging and wayfinding requirements.
Starting today, relying on one’s favorite set of webfonts no longer means being confined to regular, italic, bold, and bold italic. Thanks to a partnership between Font Bureau, Carter & Cone, and Monotype Imaging, Georgia and Verdana are now extended families, enabling much more versatile use on screen and paper. Carter and Rickner worked with Steve Matteson of Monotype Imaging and David Berlow of Font Bureau to create the new, expanded editions of the fonts.
Georgia Pro and Verdana Pro boast 20 styles each, adding Light, Semi Bold, and Black to the Regular and Bold of the originals. Perhaps even more welcome is a Condensed width in each of these styles, dramatically enhancing Georgia and Verdana’s usefulness in a variety of settings. If Verdana was ever too wide for a job, there is now a Condensed option ready to fill in. All these new weights and widths have accompanying italics, of course. And all are hinted with the same high standards of quality, so they can be used at nearly any size with confidence.
The extended families aren’t only useful for web and print. Font Bureau’s General Manager, Sam Berlow, says the mobile community will welcome the news as well:
“The combo of Georgia and Verdana in all these styles will be great for platforms like iOS which utilize portrait and landscape layouts. Weight and width choices will give app developers more flexibility when creating interfaces. Verdana and Georgia were built to be legible, now they are legible and versatile.”
In addition to the new family members, Georgia Pro and Verdana Pro include enhanced typographic features, like small caps, and a full range of figures with the user-preferred lining numerals as the default. Georgia Pro and Verdana Pro are available for immediate purchase and download from Font Bureau, with web versions available from Webtype.