Tahoma Look Alike

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Tom Quinn's picture
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Joined: 27 Dec 2016 - 9:47am
Tahoma Look Alike
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I have a loan document that was created in November 1991 by an attorney using an early Apple or McIntosh computer, probably a Mac SE. The computer is long gone and my attorney passed away in 2006. I think he was using some sort of business form software created for Apple. The type face in question is identical to Tahoma but Tahoma was not introduced until 1994. I'm told that Tahoma is a knock off of several other fonts that were in use decades ago and may have been created by Susan Kare or Adrian Fruitiger. Can anyone confirm my suspicions or has anyone used that early business form software I am referring to? Your help is appreciated. Sincerely, Tom

Mark Simonson's picture
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Joined: 3 Dec 2001 - 11:00am
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Your sample is not much to go on. It would be helpful if you could post more example characters than this.

It does look like Tahoma, but I am not aware of any typefaces older than Tahoma that would be this close. Whoever told you Tahoma was a knockoff was wrong. Your sample does not match any Frutiger fonts that I know of, and Susan Kare only designed bitmapped fonts for Apple. Tahoma resembles older typefaces in only the most superficial sense.

In November 1991, TrueType fonts were very new. Among the initial set of TrueType fonts that Apple shipped, none looked much like Tahoma. (The fonts were Times, Helvetica, Courier, and TrueType versions of Kare's earlier bitmapped fonts Geneva, New York, Chicago, and Monaco.)

David Berlow's picture
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Joined: 19 Jul 2004 - 6:31pm
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I guess it comes down to what "looking much like" looks like;)

Theunis de Jong's picture
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Joined: 22 Apr 2008 - 5:06pm
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David, what does that peculiar tail on the "Q" look like in Geneva?

Igor Freiberger's picture
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Joined: 20 Jun 2008 - 8:44pm
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Not exactly Geneva:

David Berlow's picture
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Joined: 19 Jul 2004 - 6:31pm
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Thanks Igor. I was busy. The point from me is not that these two faces, designed a decade apart for the same general purpose, don't look alike to us, but rather that they would be not be very distiguishable to most. So, someone who has become familiar with Tahoma, and has barely ever seen Geneva, might look at Geneva and think it Tacoma. That's all.

Igor Freiberger's picture
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Joined: 20 Jun 2008 - 8:44pm
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I understand your point, they are very similar and hard to distinguish. Now I become curious which font was used in Tom's document — although one cannot expect very much from just four letters in low resolution.

David Berlow's picture
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Joined: 19 Jul 2004 - 6:31pm
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I'm pretty sure the story says the font is Geneva. But I'm also pretty sure the font being shown to us, (a scan of 300 dpi printer output?), is Tahoma, tracked -5.
And when a font id comes down to a deceased lawyer's word against a specimen, TGFI.

Mark Simonson's picture
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Joined: 3 Dec 2001 - 11:00am
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Yeah, that seems the most likely explanation.