The fault in defaults
June 28, 2018
Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Does anyone love Times New Roman?
There is no denying that serif fonts offer better readability in printed papers, but why was Times New Roman more accepted than let’s say Baskerville or University of California Old Style. None will argue that it is the superiority of Times New Roman over other serif typefaces, nor as the popularity of The Times that made it happen. It is just because the Microsoft offered it in their OS and office suite as default typeface. I can’t understand why Microsoft chose Times New Roman instead of let’s say Times which is equally readable and more pleasing. Maybe they didn’t care much about it back then. Any machine that had allowed a user-configurable setting would have had a pre-existing configuration called default settings which was hardly changed by most of the consumers. When computers became household items, the operating systems offered their own default setting which was quite different from the hard machines. These defaults were used to call another program which was not part of the operating system in itself. Microsoft pushed Internet Explorer as default abusing its dominant position. But a font can’t provide comparable return as that of a internet browser. So Times New Roman must ‘ve been good enough. But the consumers took it too far and we started forcing it on others who were not very lazy to change the default font. A standard font could help a lot in providing uniformity and ease to read, especially in academia where they print and read hell lot of things. Almost all the academic papers, assignments, reports were in Times New Roman. But things slowly changed and people started using a sans-serif typeface called Calibri. This change was not because of the fact that sans serif provides better experience in computer screens, but because Microsoft made it as default. Would anyone have thought that this tweak could bring down Pakistan’s Prime Minister.
In my school, there were professors who were very particular that all the submissions be presented in Times New Roman typeface. It was a real pain in the arse as I didn’t use that malware called Windows and I wasn’t interested to invest thousands of rupees to buy stupid fonts. As expected, they refused to provide an exception. I did first few assignments using a friend’s PC but later I started using a free software metric-compatible font called URW++ and as expected they couldn’t tell the difference. As the so called standard has now changed to Calibri, I shifted to Carlito.
Now I am in a tough spot as we need to collect several reports as submissions and my colleagues want all the submissions that ‘ll be made to be in Calibri. Their argument is that everyone uses MS Windows and their Office suite and these fonts come as default in that package. 😪 Really? Does everyone use that crap?
Though this blog was moved to the onion site, I think this post rather belong here.