Vol. 5, Issue 3, April 24, 2007
Times New Roman Bushwhacks Verdana, Calibri
In a move that has stunned typographical experts, Times New Roman has staged a violent assault upon the widely used sans-serif font Verdana and its affiliate Calibri, resulting in significant upheaval throughout the typeface community.
"At present, it appears that Verdana has suffered significant losses and may have been expelled from the Northwest entirely," said Ottmar Mergenthaler, director of the U.S. Department of Typography. "There's no sign of Calibri at all. It is a serious setback for the sans-serif population, and we are working to establish stability as fast as we can."
Times New Roman is the most powerful branch of the Times font family; founded in the early 1930s, it has long been associated with traditional news media and organized crime. Once the dominant font family, the Times family, along with many serifed font groups, has faced challenges with the rise of the computer. Sans-serif fonts such as Verdana are considered easier to read on a computer screen, and have increasingly become the default for many software companies.
"We have to say that the collapse of Verdana and Calibri, both Microsoft-developed fonts, has troubling implications for the extended Microsoft software suite," said Mergenthaler. "The decision to ship Microsoft Office 2007 with Calibri, a Verdana-related font, as the default instead of Times New Roman was apparently what led to this counter-offensive. It certainly seems that the old school isn't going to pass quietly into the night."
Typeface aggression is nothing new; the German purges of the formerly popular blackletter fonts in the years leading up to World War I are infamous. However, since the Helvetica Convention in 1949, which set the standards for humanist font concerns, typographical conflicts have been relatively minor.
"The Garamond crime family has been the main font not to follow the script," said Mergenthaler. "But this is a different story entirely. You'd have to be a real dingbat not to see the potential fallout from the aggression of Times New Roman. This deviation from the baseline has serious implications."
However, while the violence of the attack has been publicly deplored, many privately applaud the offensive against the vanguard of the sans-serif movement.
"Everywhere you look it's sans-serif this and TrueType that," said Mark Frutiger, a representative of Century Schoolbook. "Call me old-fashioned, but those wide proportions and loose letter-spacing seem downright immodest to me. I certainly don't condone everything that Times Roman has done, but in this case I can't blame them. Calibri was the last straw: Times saw the handwriting on the wall, and didn't like it one bit."
Times New Roman has declined to comment to the media on its campaign. The fledgling Calibri has been nearly eradicated; the remnants of Verdana, sheltering near Toronto at the Arial estate, issued a brief statement to the press appealing for international aid.
"This display of aggression is more than a symbol of Times Roman's disproportionate aggression," said a Verdana spokesman. "It represents a descent to a mean line of behavior that is a sad postscript to the once proud history of the Times family."
Protests have arisen around the world, from Tahoma to Monaco, and the Department of Typography has pledged a strong response.
"We are appointing Courier to a new law enforcement post designed to oversee all inter-font issues," said Mergenthaler. "It is our hope that this move will enable the typographic community to achieve a suitable resolution without any type losing face."
"This era of lawlessness is coming to an end," affirmed Courier. "There's a new serif in town."