Where’s the Windings replacement “Cariadings”?

Now read thisEven though Windows Vista didn’t ship with a new “Add New Fonts” dialog that would have shaken the computing industry to its knees, it did however ship with some amazing new ClearType fonts. In 2004, Microsoft unveiled the “ClearType Font Collection” – a mix of serif and san-serif fonts to replace the aging set of Windows fonts that we’ve been stuck with for decades.

The collection included now-familiar names such as Constantia, Corbel, Calibri, Cambria, Candara, Consolas, Meiryo and Segoe. These are beautiful fonts that are rightful replacements for Arial, Times New Roman and the like who has served as the default fonts ever since Windows 3.1. But one other font has served a legacy a few years too long. It should have retired, it was announced to be retired, but it’s still kicking. Why?

Of course I’m talking about Wingdings – our favorite dingbats font with a history of NYC controversy. It has been interpreted as anti-Semitic and then linked with the September 11 terrorist attacks. I think Microsoft felt a sigh of a relief when it announced the Vista-replacement for Windings, Cariadings. But Cariadings never came.

Microsoft Design describes Cariadings as,

a new decorative symbol font that will be included in Longhorn. “Cariadings” (Cariad means love or affection in Welsh) was designed by Microsoft’s own Geraldine Wade, one of the project leaders of the ClearType Font Collection.

The US Trademarks Office has approved Microsoft’s application for Cariadings ever since 2004. Even Microsoft’s own list of trademarks describes Cariadings as a font.

After doing some heavy earthmoving at the Patent Office (which is like right next door to the Trademarks Office), I uncovered Geraldine’s patent for the font type with a sample of what Cariadings looked like. Whilst I’m no Wingdings enthusiast, these are obviously more 21st-century-friendly.


So my question is, where the bloody hell is Cariadings? If anyone knows why it wasn’t included in Windows Vista, or even have a copy of it, please post it in the comments. 🙂

11 insightful thoughts

  1. Don’t know, Long. But I know that Calibri is really beautiful and its great that this is one of the default fonts in Office 2007.

    Did someone else realised, that the capital “W” of the new Frutig…. uhm Segoe UI renders a little bit too heavy in windows title bars? Just compare it with the “M” in Windows Media Player. Bad hinting!

  2. tino, wow. after closely looking at it I see it too. good eyes is all I can say. very interesting…

  3. The reason was given on a Channel 9 video a long time back; if recollection serves the C was for the Clear type team. I agree though it’s a pain remembering which is which (with the possible exception of the nicely named Consolas).

  4. @fracturex: Segoe UI is a real scandal for MS’s font team. It’s not only a proven plagiarism of the well known Frutiger Next and has no trademark protection in Europe anymore but it is also poorly hinted.

  5. @tino: Unfortunately for the makers of Frutiger, font faces _can_ be copied. Only the binary font files themselves are protected by copyright.

    Influence from Frutiger can also be seen in Adobe’s Myriad (most notably used as Apple’s corporate font, in all their marketing materials) and Apple’s Podium Sans (used in the iPod interface).

    Also, Segoe (the font upon which Segoe UI is based) was developed by Monotype in 2000– they claim that it was a completely original design (although the similarities are so strong that someone was obviously influenced by Frutiger at some point).

  6. “Replacement” – is a bit misleading. You can’t take existing Wingdings symbols and switch fonts to Cariadings and expect the content to make sense. Although default fonts change – for example Office document defaults switching from Arial and TNR to Calibri, or the Windows and Office UI switching from Tahoma to Segoe UI – the original core and UI fonts are still in Vista, and far from being mothballed have had thousands of glyphs added.

    “W” – text over glass does not use standard GDI rendering. For ClearType, black and white or regular anti-aliasing the type designer/hinter can control a font’s appearance via contextual hinting. Unfortunately the filter developed by the MSX team does not afford the type designer control over appearance. Segoe UI is well hinted, with light ClearType targeted hints applied at all sizes and specific tuning for key UI sizes 8,9 and 10 pt.

    “Segoe” – the Segoe Wikepedia page seems reasonably accurate, and includes details of the fonts design patent challenge in the EU. The Segoe trademark remains intact, as does its US design patent protection. So saying it has “no trademark protection in Europe” is incorrect.

    Font IP is complicated, but in simple terms, a font name, if properly trademarked, is the font’s most protectable asset. That’s why “Frutiger” is more valuable than “Humanist 777”. Copyright with respect to the font file itself comes next, and Adobe had some success against people who have created derivatives using a scaling utility. Design patents are largely unproven, and most font vendors don’t apply for them.

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