Almost everyone knows it and this article was typed before it came online: Calibri, the standard font of word processing program Word.
The typeface may suddenly disrupt the Pakistani Prime Minister and his family. “It is a beautiful and bizarre story”, says Lucas de Groot, the Dutch designer of Calibri, against the NOS.
These are documents with which the daughter of the Pakistani Prime Minister, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, wanted to prove her innocence in a corruption case. She would be the owner of expensive apartments in London through shadowy constructions. That accusation followed revelations from the Panama Papersthat the Pakistani prime minister and his family have been pursuing for a year.
Maryam Nawaz wanted to show that there is nothing illegal about the luxury apartments. Her documents were only typed in Calibri, while that type of font at the time of the date on the documents (February 2006) was not yet in Word. And so it is a forgery, says the team that is commissioned by the government to investigate the corruption of the Sharif family.
According to De Groot, Calibri could not have been used by the prime minister’s daughter in 2006. “The chance is actually zero that the daughter has picked the then completely unknown font from a beta version of Windows Vista, has installed on her computer and then the standard font has to replace.”
De Groot designed Calibri in 2003, worked there for one and a half years and sent it to Microsoft in March 2004. The company did not make the font available immediately, says De Groot. “Calibri was actually meant to make texts readable for longer, so it was a huge honor when Microsoft decided in early 2007 to replace the standard font in Word, which was then Times New Roman, with mine.”
Flat-call by Pakistanis
Yet there is a small chance that Calibri ended up on Sharif’s computer via illegal roads. De Groot is now being called by both camps and the media in Pakistan about the typeface and the exact date on which it was ready. “In the meantime, my secretary has an English text with some facts ready, which we now give away.”
It is not the first time that De Groot has to check whether something has been typed in the Calibri font. “I’ve been approached several times about people who want to check if something is really Calibri, the last time there was something with an inheritance in America, usually mailing the will, sometimes copied a number of times and the font looks like something otherwise, but I always immediately see if it is Calibri. “
The English Wikipedia page about the Calibri font is closed for a week for modifications. This happened after the page was adapted to the conveyor belt by supporters and opponents of the Sharif family.
De Groot is still working on Calibri. “I recently finished the Hebrew version, which is a very nice job and all honor when it is used, and I went to Israel specifically to talk to people about the details of the font.”
He continues to follow the fuss in Pakistan about the use of his typeface. “The government there is on the verge of falling – a bizarre story.”
Mediabites Editorial – Shoaib Naqvi (Courtesy: nos.nl)