Where did the names of the fonts Marlett and Verdana come from?

Raymond Chen

Commenter BAA says that the -lett part of Marlett comes from the designer Virginia Howlett. BAA adds, “I forget the ‘Mar’ but I believe it was a co-creator.”

If so, then that co-creator was Suzan Marashi, if Vincent Connare is to be trusted. On page 17 of the PDF document From The Dark Side…, Connare identifies the authors of the font as Virginia Howlett, Rom Impas, Suzan Marashi, and Alison Grauman-Barnes. He also identifies Eliyezer Kohen as the person whose idea it was to use a special-purpose font.

According to Virginia Howlett, the original name for the font Verdana was Ventana, which means window in Spanish. Lawyers apparently objected to the name, and the font team explored variations on verde (which means green in Spanish) and verdigris (a green pigment), thereby invoking the color associated both with Washington (The Evergreen State) and Seattle (The Emerald City). The second part of the font name comes from Howlett’s granddaughter Ana, following in the tradition of font designers naming fonts after their daughters.


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