Tahoma Font Download & Free Alternatives

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Matthew Carter is the designer responsible for the humanist sans-serif typeface of Tahoma (and its sister Verdana) which was released as a standard font in the Windows 95 initial release. He designed it in 1994 for the Microsoft Corporation.

The origins of the Tahoma font

As he did with Georgia, he created Tahoma backwards using the bitmap to draw his creation and then wrapping it with the outline after design and once again it was Tom Rickner who hinted it. Interestingly Tahoma is highly popular within the Persian community and is actually used on more websites in Persian than any other font, probably because it contains the Persian subset.

Don’t confuse Tahoma with Verdana typeface

Tahoma is more narrow bodied than Verdana and has tighter letter spacing and unlike many other sans serif typefaces the uppercase I and lowercase i are easily distinguished, which is a thing of beauty and tends to be rather important in technical publications. It is frequently compared to Frutiger, which is another humanist sans serif typeface, Carter has acknowledged that there are similarities with the Bell Centennial typeface.

Tahoma was named after the Native American name for Mount Rainier (Mount Tahoma) which is quite a prominent feature of Seattle’s landscape.

It has been used by Skype as well as in Sega’s Dreamcast packaging and was the default screen font used by Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, which was previously MS Sans Serif. Apple then announced in 2007 that Tahoma would be part of the bundle with their next version of Mac OS X v10.5.

Tahoma was designed by the great Matthew Carter

Matthew Carter originally hailed from London but completed his training in the Netherlands before settling in Massachusetts and is responsible for creating some of the most famous modern typefaces.

He started the digital type foundry Bitstream Inc. in 1981 with his colleague Mike Parker (this is claimed to be the first of its kind), but he left a decade later to form the Carter & Cone type foundry with Cherie Cone. It was there that his focus was on improving the readability of many typefaces. Bitstream Inc. continues today and has been part of Monotype Imaging since 2002. It now trades under the name of Pageflex Inc. after a successful management buyout.

One of the most used typefaces among Fortune 500 companies

Some of his clients have included publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, Wired, Newsweek and the Boston Globe. He is also a senior critic for the graphic design programme at Yale as well as being a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale. He is a multi-award winning typographer and received an honorary doctorate from the Art Institute of Boston and also had a retrospective of his work exhibited in 2002 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

It is also considered to be one of the best fonts to use when creating a resume or CV.

Tahoma download