Font Wars Poll: Helvetica vs Times New Roman vs Calibri

After Google snuck some new fonts into Google Documents, we thought today was a good day for tipping our blogging toes into the wild waters of font wars. Passions run high, torn-off serifs litter the ground and some of the most vitriol on the internet is expended in these battles of words and lettering [see for example: the helveticavstimes blog – strapline: “because Times New Roman should never ever be used and even then that’s stretching it”]

We’ll give you a quick run-down of the contestants then let you vote in our Font Battle poll.


Attributes: a very neutral typeface designed to have great clarity and no intrinsic meaning in its form so it could be used on a wide variety of signage agreed
Who uses it: a lot of corporate places use Helvetica or its variants, including American Apparel, Apple in its iPod and iPhone and the US government.
The dissers say: a victim of its own success, people get fed up with it being overused. Then others say it’s the Switzerland of typefaces – safe and boring, interesting blog here.


Attributes: With sharp serifs and a narrow base, it has a slightly literary feel.
Who uses it: It’s common in books, and in some newspapers (it was orginally designed for the Times newspaper), it was a default font on Microsoft Word up until 2007 making it one of the most used fonts in the world.
The dissers say: “The lowercase letters in Times are too narrow, spaced poorly, and the serifs are too sharp” says this blogger.
Funny fact: “Researchers in 2008 found that satirical readings of text printed in Times New Roman were perceived as more funny and angry than those printed in Arial.”


Attributes: subtle rounded stems and corners that are visible at larger sizes and because it’s sans serifs, it’s easier to read on-screen than fonts like Times.
Who uses it: Microsoft – it’s their new default font on Word and now PowerPoint and Outlook.
The dissers say: poor in print and too informal for academic work or legal documents “Calibri is for primary school student assignments or children story books only” says a commenter on this Facebook group

What do you think?

Anna Leach


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