Calibri, a relatively innocuous sans serif, has trickled into mainstream use, caused in part by Microsoft Word making 11-point Calibri its default font. Many ignore the formatting guidelines and trust Word to make the selection for them, even though, more often than not, 12-point font is requested.
When someone ignores the formatting guidelines, they demonstrate a lack of care that can be seen in the rest of their work. If you are submitting an article or even an assignment, attention to detail is important.
Having read many manuscripts and assignments, I can say that the worst are done in 11-point Calibri. The writer did not pay attention to the formatting instructions, and often ignored many of the other instructions, too. When I first glance at a paper and I see the small, utilitarian lettering, I can’t help but think, “This is going to be terrible.” And the paper often is.
If someone has care for their work, takes pride in it, they want their words to be presented in the best way possible. Of course, that involves following formatting guidelines. A work in 11-point Calibri conveys the sentiment, “I couldn’t even be arsed to adjust the default.”
Of course, Times New Roman is dull. It was the default for a very long time, and probably reminds many of us of research papers from our high school and college days. But there are plenty of other options that are not Times New Roman or Calibri. When people use something other than the default, it suggests they care how their words are presented.
And let’s be honest, for many of us who do a lot of computer work, 11-point font is just too small. I should not have to enlarge the document simply to make it readable. I’m happier with 14-point than I am with 11-point. My eyes agree.
But most importantly, I’ve come to associate Calibri with a lack of care and consequently terrible papers. If you are submitting something to us, I’d rather my first impression not be, “Oh no. It’s going to be an 11-point Calibri kind of paper.”