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I have a problem with Calibri

Our Creative Director, Gary, expands on his penchant for a pencil. Copywriters, take note...

Author

Gary McNulty

Date

19.09.2023

No, not Calabria in Italy. I mean the italic, regular, underlined and bold bastard of a font that is Calibri.

The default font in Word. The typographic equivalent of that time the new iPod came with U2’s latest album pre-installed.

When you’ve been writing copy for thirty years you pick up habits, some of which are hard to shake off. Like, swerving the screen and, instead, picking up my pencil. I just can’t go straight to typing headline after headline in a font and format that bears no resemblance to the final piece of creative. By drawing my words in my half-arsed version of the client’s font I get a better idea of how they're likely to look.

I’m sure the cause of my paper-and-pencil passion is the numerous conversations I’ve had over the years with typographers and designers about my copy. When I say ‘conversations’ I mean ‘feedback’. And when I say ‘feedback’ I mean gems such as “the copy won’t fit, you need to lose three words”, and “the line breaks aren’t working”, and “this headline looks shit in upper-case”.

This is why I test-write every headline.

I’ve done lots of work for Galderma over the past twelve months, and both brands happen to use blocky capitals, so that’s how I write my headlines.

When I'm writing long copy it's different. I'll take to the screen sooner, but immediately switch Calibri for a font I prefer the look of. My current favourite is Goudy Old Style. I went through a long phase of Helvetica Neue (Ultra-Light) and dabbled with Georgia (stop it). Avoid using Rockwell Bold uppercase, though - it'll look like you're writing ads for Honda.

If you're writing a script, try using Courier Bold. Your idea will instantly look like a Tarantino screenplay, but with less blood and 'more baggage allowance with every booking' (ATOL Protected).

No cut of Calibri will ever cut it for me.

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