The New Ubuntu Maverick System Font

When Mark Shut­tle­worth announced the rebrand­ing of Ubun­tu, it seemed nobody noticed that he men­tioned a new sys­tem font was being devel­oped. Cur­rent­ly Bit­stream Vera Sans is the default (if I’m not mis­tak­en), appear­ing on menu bars, title bars, but­tons — pret­ty much every­where. I’ve always thought it has served its pur­pose well, and was frankly a lit­tle wor­ried that they would­n’t get the new sys­tem font right. Type design is extra­or­di­nar­i­ly tricky.

Now how­ev­er details are start­ing to emerge. OMG! Ubun­tu! describes how to get a boot­leg copy of it. And at UDS back in May, Bruno Maag gave a ses­sion enti­tled “Mak­ing Beau­ti­ful Fonts” in which he elab­o­rat­ed on the cre­ation of the new font. There is now video of that ses­sion, as well as the slides, which were sad­ly not includ­ed in the frame.

My first impres­sion is that it feels a bit too stiff, rigid, and tech‑y. Of course there’s no way to tell until you use it on your desk­top. Reas­sur­ing, how­ev­er, that they’re giv­ing it prop­er ital­ics.