Microsoft Unveils Aptos, the New Default Font
In a pivotal update, Microsoft has introduced Aptos as its new default font, marking a significant transition from the previously preferred Calibri. The technology giant embarked on the search for the perfect font, one that offered sharpness, uniformity, and was suitable for high-resolution displays.
As per Si Daniels, Principal Program Manager for fonts and Typography, Microsoft Office Design, the company sought to find a typeface that could replace Calibri, a font that dominated the company’s visual communication for 15 years. The mission was not merely to find a replacement but to discover a font that could assume Calibri’s prestigious default position.
Originally known as Bierstadt, the newly crowned Aptos was chosen after receiving resounding feedback from users who had the opportunity to experiment with five potential replacement fonts: Bierstadt, Grandview, Seaford, Skeena, and Tenorite.
Aptos was conceived by Steve Matteson, one of the world’s leading type designers known for his work on the original Windows TrueType core fonts and the creation of Segoe. The font’s name, Aptos, was inspired by an unincorporated town in Santa Cruz, California, which Matteson considers his favorite due to its diverse landscape and climate.
The design process for Aptos involved a ‘slight humanist touch,’ aiming to balance a universal appeal with a dash of humanity, eschewing the purely mechanical. The font seeks to induce trust and be engaging to read. It maintains simplicity with its sans serif form, characterized by simple letterforms and even strokes, thus enhancing readability.
Aptos is distinguished by its bold, well-defined, and directive characteristics. The varied geometric shapes that comprise Aptos enable it to articulate different languages and tones, with clean cut stem ends and subtle circular squares within the letters’ contours, allowing higher legibility, especially at small sizes.
As Aptos begins its journey as the new default font across various Microsoft applications like Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Excel, the company looks forward to receiving user feedback. Simultaneously, Calibri and other previous contenders for the new default font, such as Grandview, Seaford, Skeena, and Tenorite, will remain available for users seeking alternatives.
This change is part of a larger initiative by Microsoft to make its software more expressive and inclusive, with updates to themes, colors, and backgrounds in addition to the newly designed font picker experience.