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NOT THEIR TYPE

Sure, they slashed the prices on their sleeper sofas. And added those great new finger puppets on Page 259. But what happened to the typeface on the new IKEA catalog? - For 50 years, the Swedish company used a typeface called Futura to sell its assemble-it-yourself furniture. The 2010 catalog, which hit millions of homes around the world last month, features Verdana. Verdana - the typeface used in this story's headline - was invented by Microsoft for use on computer screens. It has wide, open letters that are supposed to be easy to read. - Media from Time magazine to the Malaysia Star spread the story. So who cares? - Answer: Graphic designers. On the Web site typophile.com, hundreds of serious font fans posted more than 20 pages of responses. A few defended Verdana. Others called it grotesque. "For me," the first respondent wrote, "it's a sad day." - Here are some of the comments, edited for space, from www.typophile.com.

Font for monitor use should stay on monitors, generally speaking. It has its purpose and this applying to whole wide spectrum of use for print is pretty disputable - Sandro

I wonder if they are going to start selling furniture at Wal-Mart now too - J-Gray

At least they didn't pick Helvetica. - Shinn

Verdana at large sizes simply does not have the warmth and cheer of Futura, a reaction that seems important in selling furniture to young people with tight budgets - Puckett

NOT a nice company. Too bad that they are giving Verdana a bad rep. - Vanderveen

Verdana is wrong on so many levels. UGH! Its less readable, prone to more clotting on the press or looking clotted and forget about elegance. Myriad, Avneir, even Lucida or Vera would look much better . . . Imagine if Volkswagen decided to switch out VW Futura for Verdana . . . that would put the VW brand in crapper wouldn't it? - superultrafabulous

The web-immersed among those young people might feel subliminally quite at home in a store filled with Verdana - eliason

I think that it works just fine in print at text sizes. At larger sizes some of the features that make it work well small start to look really horsey, such as the terminals of C, G, J, Q, and S - Puckett

Rubbish. It's a screen font, not graceful at display size, and lacking in subtlety. It's like using an agate font for headlines. - Shinn

It's lacking iron and fiber too . . . I know where you haters are coming from. I still cringe at the thought that people used Chicago as a display face before more fonts became available for the masses to abuse. I'm loving this use of Verdana though. Who knew that using such a plain looking typeface as Verdana could be so subversive? You grandpas have me feeling like I can shave twenty years off my age just by using Verdana for a tradeshow header - BlueStreak

For those getting hung up on the "it's a web font" complaint, I really think you should get out more. There's a whole world beyond the computer screen! Do you complain when you see Frutiger used in print, "That's an airport signage font!" or Gotham used on a sign, "That's a magazine font!"- sii

it just makes me think of terrible PowerPoint presentations - DrDoc

Verdana ships in flat packages and the customer has to assemble it. Makes perfect sense for Ikea - Pemberton

"The warmth and cheer of Futura?" I would never have associated one of the most geometric of all typefaces with either of those terms, but okay :) but that's the beauty of Futura! rather than pure geometry, it references the underlying classical skeleton. stretched to the bold weight and used large (as in Ikea's more attractive past) it's a perfect fit for Ikea's contemporary modernist focus - plainclothes

What concerns me is the concept that Verdana could easily become labeled as a BAD FONT in all of this. Verdana is NOT a bad font. It is a font that is overexposed (which culturally tends to cause problems. Reference: Phil Collins, circa 1985)

I put up a petition to Ikea. Maybe if enough designers sign it, they'll have the decency to listen. . . . Sign the petition here . . .

Dang. A petition. This is getting serious - superultrafabulous

Word for Word is an occasional feature excerpting passages of interest from books, magazines, Web sites and other sources. Text may be edited for space but the original spelling, grammar and punctuation are unchanged.

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