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Matthew Carter died this month. Whom, you may ask, is he?

Posted by Tim Downs 6 years ago 0

Though you may not know his name I promise you, you know his work. Matthew Carter, commissioned by the Microsoft corporation in the early 1990s, designed the the most commonly used font on the the web, Verdana. The Humanist Sans-Serif typeface was created with proportion and scale to be extremely readable on computer monitors and quickly became the face of choice for web designers through the 1990’s and is still one of the most prevalent fonts on the web. Incidentally, Carter also designed Georgia, the most common serif face on the web, designed as a companion face for Verdana.

To me, the amazing part of Carter’s story is not that he designed the dominant look of type online, not that he analyzed this new medium (the internet) and created fonts designed specifically for readability and small sizes with optimum legibility, but that he did it at 54 years old. He was a well established typographer before Microsoft approached him to design for this new revolutionary medium, in fact he designed another groundbreaking font with the same needs—Bell Centennial. If you’ve opened an AT&T phone book since the late 1970s, you’ve read miniscule type set in Bell Centennial. But we often think of the internet, and technology in general, to be the playground of the young Uber-nerds living in mom’s basement slamming Rockstar energy drinks, and can easily feel we are being passed by as the next generation comes of age. Carter reminds us, that new ideas and revolutionary work can come from anyone who strives to innovate.

The Church is often seen by outsiders as the old and out of date, speaking a language that doesn’t resonate with today’s culture, so Pastors need a communication tool much like Verdana, that is clear and understandable to everyone.

At Outreach, We strive to give Pastors and Church leaders innovative tools they need to help bring people to Christ. Visit us at Outreach.com to see some of our new Christmas Postcards like “Christmas Blend” a design inspired to show your community how your church can connect with their felt needs this Christmas, “Belong Winter” a design that captures the joy we feel every Christmas or one of hundreds of our other completely customizable designs. Learn how we can help you send an innovative and relevant message to your community.

Other notable Fonts designed by Carter:
Big Caslon, ITC Galliard, Miller, Shelley Script, Snell Roundhand

Humanist Sans-Serif fonts are fonts that contain glyphs without serifs but do retain the varying line weights of a calligraphic hand, blending the look of old calligraphic faces with the modernity of contemporary sans-serif faces.

Tim Downs is the Art Director for the award-winning Outreach magazine and Creative Director for Outreach, Inc. With over 20 years of consumer magazine, marketing and advertising experience, Tim brings his insights on design issues, management and creativity to you each month to help you share your gifts for outreach.

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