published 14 August 2012
Fonts optimized for screen rendering look cheap on the retina MacBook Pro — sometimes downright cheesy — in the same way they do when printed in a glossy magazine.
Great fonts, intricately designed for high-resolution output, aren’t just allowed, they are necessary for a design that truly sings on this display. In fact, if anything falls down on the software side, it’s Lucida Grande, Mac OS X’s system font. It was a stellar choice by Apple in 2001 and has served ably for more than a decade, primarily because it renders so crisply through Apple’s anti-aliasing algorithms. In short, Lucida Grande renders better than most fonts on pre-retina displays. But on the retina MacBook Pro, it looks like what it is: a font optimized for low-resolution displays. There’s a reason you seldom see Lucida Grande used in print.
Curious to know if this sentiment extends beyond the Lucidas and Verdanas to include webfonts, too. If it does, I worry we might see the type industry do an about-face with all the webfont optimization that’s taken place the last few years — just as it was beginning to hit critical mass.
(I don’t own a retina MBP and would love to hear your opinion over on the Twitter.)