Why is Verdana’s lower-case pi symbol so similar to an n?

Verdana (the default font of a lot of sites for Windows users) has a symbol that looks like an n for pi:

Here is what it looks like

In Arial, another common font for windows, this looks as expected:

changed to arial

According to this comment:

That pi is intended for Greek language readers.

Is there any reason why the Verdana font is done differently to most?

To clarify which character I’m talking about, it is U+03C0 π GREEK SMALL LETTER PI (HTML π · π), see Wikipedia section on Pi Character Encodings


It is within the possible shapes for the letter Pi capital or small. If you look at this youtube video you will see that this is what his small Pi looks like. So now the question is:

  • Are you designing a letter to write the greek language
  • or are you making a letter for use with math in a Latin text context.

Ideally, you’d do both. Given that Pi appears quite much in just the above context it might be considered a faux pas to use a design incompatible form just to satisfy math use.

It seems weird that a foreign language use can affect the form of your letters. How would you, hypothetically, feel if say a Chinese person told you not to write say w like that because its confused with one of their letters. In fact, many greek letters are idealised from true forms due to math needing them for identifiable highly stylised script forms. But that does not need to be the case.

Source : Link , Question Author : kristianp , Answer Author : joojaa

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