Once upon a time Verdana was, in part, the saviour of the internet. No, really it was, bear with me…
Another Sans Serif font from the early-ish days of computers (1996) Verdana was designed particularly for use on screen, which made it ideal for the internet.
Unlike many other standard text fonts Verdana has been designed to be easy to read. The letter and word spacing is looser and wider than other faces. The capital letters are slightly wider and the lower case is taller than normal. All this means that when used in smaller sizes it becomes clearer to read. When viewed alongside, for example Ariel, at the same size the lower case letters come to over half the depth of the capitals which makes them appear larger, and thus clearer.
When used on the internet this meant that smaller type could be more easily read than other typefaces of a similar style. Being able to use smaller type allowed for more variety in design and more clarity for users.
Another key area in the prevalence of Verdana is that it is one of the most packaged fonts with many computers installed on over 90% of all systems. This allowed for web designers to use it safe in the knowledge that most site visitors would have access to it.
I have used it on numerous website projects over the years and it has been a great fail safe on many occasions. Time and design has moved on now, especially with larger and sharper monitors, but that doesn’t mean that it should be consigned to the scrap heap. Every job has unique elements and sometimes the larger lower case is just what’s required.
To learn more read here.