Ikea are changing from Futura to Verdana in all their printed and electronic
communications, and I¹m torn as to what I think about this change. If everyone is using it then we¹ll use it too - safety in numbers, right?
Futura, created in the 1920¹s by German designer Paul Renner is simply one
of the most timeless, beautiful typefaces ever and usable in any medium.
Kubrick used it for most of his film titles after years of painstaking
research on the quest for the perfect font and if Kubrick chose it then
I¹m of the mind it can't be wrong. I use it a little too much myself as I
always go back to it for the sheer bold clarity of it.
Verdana, designed in 1993 by Matthew Carter for electronic communications
was not particularly intended for print usage. It does indeed stand tall in
the world of readable on-screen fonts, I always use it in my website designs
as it¹s wider and more legible than an aliased Arial or Trebuchet at a body
copy size. However, I always use a different font for headers as I find the
large Verdana rather clumsy, especially the serifs on the capital I - Ikea are
using it in all instances big and small.
I can understand why Ikea have changed to Verdana (costs debate aside) as
they want to be able to give the same visual impression both in print and
the web, which matches perfectly with Ikea's ideology of non-elitist,
ubiquitous and affordable design. It also makes sense from a global
operational standpoint, no need to worry about not having the correct font
installed on your printers computer anymore.
Verdana is everyman¹s default font choice, but is a default choice really
what we want from the companies we buy our products from? Ikea¹s designers
are inspired by a variety of styles in all their products, because people
want a choice of style in their homes, not a default.
See new Verdana usage here: http://www.iancul.com/blog/2009/08/25/ikea-sans-replaced-by-verdana/