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Georgia – the stylish typeface for the screen

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Have you ever thought the story behind the typefaces? The typefaces or fonts, as we interchangeably call it, were once a grueling task to prepare. Here’s a bunch of posts in their honor. Beginning with the stylish web-friendly typeface: Georgia.

One of the most easy-to-read and web-friendly Georgia typeface was not popular when it was invented but it slowly caught up—much like everything that makes history (eg: The Indian movie, Sholay which was a sleeper hit and then made history).

So, back to the story behind the typeface: Georgia.

In the mid-1990s, more people were accessing computers and email. With computers becoming cheaper to purchase, many people owned it. Also, there was a rising awareness of the comfort of the fonts to the eye. Thus the fonts Verdana and Georgia were invented in 1993 by the award-winning type designer, Mathew Carter, on the suggestion of Tom Rickner for the low resolution screen for Microsoft and released in 1996. Microsoft Corp. wanted fonts to give Windows a new look. They needed fonts with a comprehensive character set.

“They also needed some faces of which they were the sole undisputed owners so they could give them away.” – Simon Earnshaw, a typographer at Microsoft.

Before moving ahead, a bunch of terms:

Serif is the little tail you see at the end of particular letters like: Q

Sans-serif: without the little tail.

Since san-serif designs were popular, Verdana was more popular compared to Georgia. In the font, Georgia, the numbers 3,4,5,7,9, drop below the baseline thus making it uncomfortable to read. But in 2000s, tastes changed. Designers were looking for ancient style. Thus, when Georgia became popular. Georgia was compared to the elegant Bodoni.

Georgia font takes inspiration from the font: Scotch Roman. Carter paid special  attention to the spacing between characters as this often caused confusion in other computer fonts.

Verdana was the font widely used. But Georgia was a step ahead of the font: Verdana. It was considered as a serif alternate for the Times New Roman. Verdana and Georgia complement each other in heading and body texts. The letter stroke is heavier for screen readability. It is best used for web or e-reading. When printed, Georgia may not look appealing.

ebook:

The font is also popular in ebooks as it makes it easier to read even in low-resolution—the reason it was first designed. Kindle Fire, an ereader, uses Georgia as its default font setting.

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Sources:

New York Times; will-harris.com; screenspace.org; inspiration-bit.com

Categories: Reviews
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