General enquiries

  • +44 (0)113 275 3912
  • [email protected]

Become a client

I have a problem with Calibri

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


Gary McNulty



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.


View all articles

An Advantage Smollan Company

© IMA 2024
  • Modern Slavery Act
  • Privacy and Cookie Notice
  • Gender Pay Gap Response