Verdana, good typeface for headlines?

claire's picture

Hello there,
I thought of you when wondering about Verdana as a headline typeface.
1) Would you say it might be, or SHOULDN'T (as it was initialy drawn for the screen)?
2) Could you help me understand what this means: "His Verdana and Tahoma families were designed for the screen and EXTENSIVELY HINTED; they sacrifice economy for readability, A SENSIBLE DECISION WHEN SCROLLING IS CHEAP BUT PIXELS ARE SCARCE." (found on the typowiki)
…does this simply means that it is not apropriate for printed matters (specialy in big size)?

Thanks for your opinions,

dan_reynolds's picture

Claire, I think that Verdana is quite appropriate for headlines online. However, I wouldn't recommend it for use in print.

mili's picture

I've been forced to use it for small newspaper ads for my customer. It's defined in their graphic guidelines (or whatever you call it...). Even their logo is based on Verdana. I suppose the idea was to use a font that the customer would have and also they have quite a lot of stuff on the internet.

I'm quite used to it by now, but not enjoying it.

No, I didn't design the logo etc.

drduckling's picture

Claire, je ne te conseille pas d'utiliser une Verdana pour du titrage, à moins que tu agisses sous la contrainte. Comme tu le dis elle a été particulièrement designé pour l'écran, donc tout est dit... A moins que tu ne veuilles faire une travail expérimental qui utilise les "codes" du screen.

claire's picture

Thanks for your answer Dan.
I like to use Verdana for the web, but for printed matters, I would better not use a font that was made initially for the screen. In the meanwhile, I thought I should maybe just trust more Matthew Carter's hand, although I don't really like the look of some letters in a display text…

You might be able to explain me what "extensively hinted" gives as a consequense. 'cause I don't know so much about font encoding, and it's effects. Does it means : "it is finely drawn in the closest details" or "the encoding is very complicate, which makes of it a huge and heavy font"?


claire's picture

En effet, j'agit sous la contrainte, et je cherche justement des arguments pour la parer. N'étant pas sûre de moi…

What type would you use in place of Verdana (the closer)? Is Frutiger a good choice?

drduckling's picture

Linotype propose les typo suivantes : Frutiger™, Ergo™ and Veto™ en "remplacement".
Voilà M'dame ce que je peux vous en dire moi...

Grot Esqué's picture

Well hinted means it’s suitable for small text on the screen. It might not be the best typeface for headlines also because it’s so wide.

Si_Daniels's picture

An explanation of hinting -

It should not effect the font in print, but as said before the font was designed for the screen.

Nick Shinn's picture

Actually, it was designed for both screen and print. Although the demands of the screen came first, the outlines and metrics that appear when the face is used in print are modified to suit that medium. And it even has kerning!
DIN and Interstate were designed for signage, and that hasn't stopped their widespread use in print. What they have in common is origins in media with much cruder horizontal spacing than printing type.

Verdana has not become established as a print face partly because of the screen myth, but mainly because of its limited family. Heck, a Light would be useful even to web designers :-)
Extra Bold, Light, and Condensed variants would help establish Verdana for display use.
It's been 50 years since Univers, designers expect a new face to have a bit of a palette.

Ascender Corporation has -- up to now -- missed the opportunity; meanwhile Interstate is available in evrything from Hairline to Ultra Black. Emigre's Base, of similar design provenance as Verdana, also has a big family and is well established in print.

rs_donsata's picture

Gill Sans or something related there is a typeface based on Gill Sans which is not Agenda and I think could work, maybe Tiresias, Nina or Truth, it's an ackward design.


timd's picture

Kievit is similar in some respects but is narrower overall

or maybe


rs_donsata's picture

There is Bitstream's Vera, which is very similar to Verdana and is free. I don't really know if it is better for print than Verdana, but it may be worth trying. Bliss is the thing based on Gill Sans I could not remember.


Si_Daniels's picture

I agree with Nick, I was hoping that Ascender would have made a few intermediate weights by now - a semibold and a light would be well received by the design community in my opinion. Anyhow If the spacing of Verdana is too wide you could try Tahoma, essentially the same design with narrower spacing. Also Nina a condensed version of Verdana especially for small screen devices. Both available from Ascender.

claire's picture

Thank you all for your comments !)

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