In 2009 Microsoft asked to TyroTypeworks to design a family which could improve the overall quality of Windows 8 user interfaces typeset with Indic scripts.
Pure success? As soon as the Indic scripts where supported by Windows text rendering engine, Microsoft purchased a number of pre-existing fonts in order to render the new scripts. But they were lacking in consistency, which is critical when designing interfaces.
What struggles? The user interface context and the complexity of the scripts involved posed various limitations to the design. The new family had to work a really small sizes within the vertical metrics of Segoe UI, which is the main user interface fonts in use in Microsoft products.
The solution: Indic scripts often stack various signs in a single glyph, which is sometimes impossible in a grid of a few pixels. John Hudson therefore showed a number of workarounds which were necessary to solve some of the most complicated compositions.
The Nirmala UI font was designed in round about a year by a team of designers directed by Tyro Typeworks Ltd. co-founder Fiona Ross. The typeface was shipped into Windows 8 in 2012.