A more refined Lucida Sans for screen?

My company has been working with Lucida Sans for print and screen text, and lately I have been fielding complaints about what is perceived as a patchy, low-res look of the typeface as it appears on screen (apps, email etc). It performs well in print, however.

I asked a type designer, and he told me that Lucida Sans was originally designed for low-res screens, and on today's high-resolution screens maintains an appearance that has not aged well with the times. He also said that Microsoft has largely abandoned Lucida Sans as a font it supports.

Can anybody affirm this problem? Is there a version of Lucida Sans that has been "modernized", smoothed out so that it takes on a better appearance on screen/the web?

We are looking at alternate plan B solutions such as Segoe, Myriad, Calibri and Verdana. We would like to avoid this as we have set many templates in Lucida Sans as is and it will be a pain to change them all.

Joshua Langman's picture

Lucida Grande is the version that's most often used on screen. It's the Mac OS font.

Note that it doesn't have an italic.

gargoyle's picture

How Lucida Sans appears on screen depends on several factors: the platform/apps, the screen resolution and point/pixel size, and which of the three common versions is actually being used. Windows has Lucida Sans Unicode (one weight), Mac has Lucida Grande (regular and bold), and some Microsoft products ship with a family that has true italics but covers a smaller character set. While these versions are largely identical in design, differences in their hinting can affect screen appearance at smaller sizes. Here's an article that examines some of the rendering inconsistencies: Lucida Hybrid: The ‘Grande’ Alternative.

However, this is mainly an issue for lower-res devices that use hinting more aggressively in rendering (i.e. Windows). Higher-res devices should render the font more closely to how it looks in print, which you say performs well.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

This thread reminded me of the review of JAF Bernini Sans Stephen Coles wrote on Typographica. He replaced Lucida with Bernin(o) on the site.

ArmstrongFluidTechnology's picture

Thanks everyone, useful information.

hrant's picture

I can think of two approaches that could make this work without you having to change the font selections in your pre-existing documents. But it's a bit of work. If you have a budget, please contact me directly:
hpapazian at gmail dot com


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