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State Department to switch official font from Times New Roman to Calibri

The State Department will switch its official font from Times New Roman to Calibri next month in an effort to increase accessibility, a department spokesperson said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken directed staff to begin using a 14-point Calibri font for department paperwork on Feb. 6, after nearly 20 years of using Times News Roman as the standard font.

“The Times (New Roman) are a-Changin,” the subject line of Blinken’s memo to staff on Tuesday reportedly read, according to The Washington Post.

The key difference between the two fonts from an accessibility perspective is that Times New Roman is a serif font, meaning it has extra strokes on the ends of the larger lines that make up the letters. These are sometimes referred to as “wings” or “feet.” 

Calibri, as a sans serif font, does not have any of those additional lines. This can make it easier for Optical Character Recognition technology or screen readers used by individuals with disabilities to process letters, as well as reduce visual recognition issues for those with learning disabilities, according to the department spokesperson.

“The new font change will make the Department’s written products and communications more accessible,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “It demonstrates Secretary Blinken’s allyship to those with disabilities and underscores his support for employees with disabilities.” 

“Moreover, this change underscores that the values and message of disability inclusion are not restricted to any given month or period, but something that should be pursued all year round,” they added.

Source: The Hill

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