New Font Mandate Creates Frenzy at State Division

Antony Blinken is changing the font for internal documents to Calibri

Photograph: Drew Angerer (Getty Pictures)

The font type used within the U.S. State Division is altering, prompting complaints from staff who discover the change to be an inconvenience. Secretary of State Antony Blinken despatched an electronic mail to the state division, headlined “The Instances (New Roman) are a-Changin,” ala Bob Dylan, saying they are going to be altering the font for high-level inner paperwork to the bigger sans-serif font, Calibri, from Instances New Roman, which has been used for greater than 20 years.

Blinken stated the division’s home and worldwide places of work have till February 6 to “undertake Calibri as the usual font for all requested papers,” the electronic mail stated in response to the Washington Submit.

The change comes as a method to assist staff who’re visually impaired and was really helpful by the secretary’s workplace of range and inclusion. Nonetheless, the announcement has acquired criticism and complaints that the Calibri font shouldn’t be aesthetically pleasing.

One Overseas Service officer advised The Submit {that a} water cooler dialogue concerning the font change “took up, like, half the day,” and ranged on each ends of the approval spectrum, whereas one other stated, “I’m anticipating an inner revolt.”

Though the change is going through pushback, this isn’t the primary time the State Division has applied a font change to inner paperwork. The font was exchanged for Instances New Roman in 2004, however at the moment had acquired criticism as a result of it was modified from the Courier New 12 font, in any other case often known as the typewriter font.

On the time, the change was instated as a result of Courier New 12 was thought of outdated and was swapped for Instances New Roman as a result of it “takes up nearly precisely the identical space on the web page as Courier New 12 whereas providing a crisper, cleaner, extra fashionable look,” the State Division advised Slate on the time.

Instances are as soon as once more altering, as Calibri takes over as the usual font inside the State Division, however this time it’s the “wings” and “toes” of the font that’s prompting the change.

Within the electronic mail obtained by The Submit, Blinken stated the “ornamental, angular options” of Instances New Roman and different serifs “can introduce accessibility points for people with disabilities who use Optical Character Recognition Know-how or display screen readers.” He added, “It could additionally trigger visible recognition for people with studying disabilities.”

A senior State Division official advised The Submit Blinken’s resolution was purely targeted on the accessibility problems with staff, and never the aesthetics of the font itself. Nonetheless, whatever the State Division’s cause for the change, a Overseas Service officer advised the outlet, “A colleague of mine referred to as it sacrilege. I don’t thoughts the choice as a result of I hate serifs, however I don’t love Calibri.”

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