Cambria is a transitional serif typeface commissioned by Microsoft and distributed with Windows and Office. It was designed by Dutch typeface designer Jelle Bosma in 2004, with input from Steve Matteson and Robin Nicholas. It is intended as a serif font that is suitable for body text, that is very readable printed small or displayed on a low-resolution screen and has even spacing and proportions.
It is part of the ClearType Font Collection, a suite of fonts from various designers released with Windows Vista. All start with the letter C to reflect that they were designed to work well with Microsoft’s ClearType text rendering system, a text rendering engine designed to make text clearer to read on LCD monitors. The other fonts in the same group are Calibri, Candara, Consolas, Constantia and Corbel.
Diagonal and vertical hairlines and serifs are relatively strong, while horizontal serifs are small and intend to emphasize stroke endings rather than stand out themselves. This principle is most noticeable in the italics where the lowercase characters are subdued in style. It is somewhat more condensed than average for a font of its kind.
Many aspects of the design are somewhat blocky to render well on screen, and full stops are square rather than round. Designers have recommended avoiding using it in printed text because of this: designer Matthew Butterick described it as too monotonous to be attractive on paper.
Cambria is distributed with Windows Vista, Windows 7, Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft Office 2008 and 2011 for Mac, and Microsoft Office 2007 viewers and converters. Cambria (Regular) and Cambria Math are packaged together as a TrueType Collection (TTC) file.