You may not be familiar with the designer of this typeface, Matthew Carter. Finding that traditional type used in books and print did not work well on computer screens, Microsoft asked Carter in 1993 to create a new design, called Verdana. He also happens to know a lot about making decisions. Carter is “…very fond of saying that designing type involves a billion possibilities. Once you make your first decision—serif or sans, say—half a billion decisions remain. And when you make your second—the thickness of each character, perhaps—a quarter billion remain, and so on. Old style or new, you’re finally down to ten thousand questions. Designers often get caught between two decisions, and those decisions occur somewhere just before you draw the first ‘A’.”We seek that perfect storm in an ocean of possibilities: when there are two discrete options, a short list of pros and cons, and a gut sense to guide us. Life rarely presents such circumstances. Complexity, time, conflicting demands, and shifting information—all cloud our decision making with too few, or too many, options. We can neither ensure a good outcome, nor sense “what our heart tells us.”
Quote is from the New Yorker magazine story by Alec Wilkinson, December 5, 2005.
More about Carter here.