If like me you’re fed up of using Arial and Verdana as the body typeface on web sites, why not experiment with two very nice typefaces present on OS X and Vista.
Calibri comes bundled as standard with Windows Vista and Office bundles post-2006 and should therefore be present on a large portion of visitors machines.
I’ve noticed a lot of people searching for “Calibri OS X” and the like, more than likely sharing the same problem as me – just how do you get Calibri on a Mac? Well, for testing purposes I copied the TTF file from one of my Windows machines over to my Mac and hey presto – it worked.
Read more about Calibri on wikipedia here.
I’m offering the TTF file as a download here strictly for those wishing to test how Calibri renders on a Mac, who also legally own the right to ‘possess’ the typeface by owning a legitimate copy of Windows Vista or Office post-2006Download Calibri.zip
Lucida Grande is another humanist sans-serif typeface and has been included with Apple’s OS since X. It is especially popular among web designers who have seen the light and use Macs, and incredibly envied by those on Windows machines. Fortunately, Apple have caught on and have now begun bundling Lucida Grande with the Windows version of Safari, which you can download here: http://www.apple.com/safari/
I’ve also noticed a lot of people searching for “Lucida Grande Windows” and the like, more than likely sharing another problem with me – just how do you get Lucida Grande on Windows machine? Well, luckily for us some clever chap cloned the typeface as a TTF file a few years back and I had it saved on my hard drive. Unfortunately his site is down now so I can’t provide a link, but I’m very grateful, as I’m sure you will be too.
Read more about Lucida Grande on wikipedia: here.
I’m offering the TTF file as a download here strictly for those wishing to test how Lucida Grande renders on Windows, who also legally own the right to ‘possess’ the typeface by owning a legitimate copy of OS X or SafariLucida-grande.zip
So, how do we take advantage of these two decent-but-underused typefaces? It’s simple, just add the following to your stylesheet for Calibri:
font-family: Calibri, 'Gill Sans', Arial, Verdana, sans-serif;
Or the following for Lucida Grande:
font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Gisha', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'Lucida Sans', Lucida, Arial, Verdana, sans-serif;
By specifying Arial and Verdana we are also allowing those users that don’t have Calibri or Lucida on their system to see the text rendered in Arial or Verdana, instead of their default typeface (more than likely Times New Roman).
Problems with this method
I’ll be the first to admit that this solution is far from trouble-free. The most difficult thing to account for is the different sizes, ratios and kerning of the typefaces. They don’t just differ slightly, they differ a lot. This can lead to problems such as orphans appearing in navigation menus, overlapping elements, all sorts basically. Always test your designs on both Windows and Mac with each of the typefaces turned on and off at different points to test each possible outcome, and try and tweak the font-sizes to cater for all.
I have searched high and low for legitimate ways to purchase both the Lucida Grande and Calibri typefaces but was unable to find any. I have offered the files here for download as a temporary measure in the hopes that somebody may one day point me to a site where I, and my visitors are able to purchase the above typefaces. I will then replace the download links with the purchase links.