Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

This Week's Sponsor

End users aren't your enemy! Kolide gets users to fix their own device compliance problems–and unsecure devices can't log in. Click here to learn how.

By Dan Moren

Quick Tip: Fixing some weird fonts in Safari

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

Recently, I’d been encountering an odd font issue. Specifically, a pair of websites–The Wirecutter and the New York Times crossword, –which both happened to be owned by the New York Times–weren’t displaying a font correctly.

Here’s a screenshot of the Wirecutter’s deals page, as seen in Safari on my iMac.


Charming, right?

This issue didn’t occur in Chrome on the same computer, or in Safari or Chrome on my MacBook Air. I’d concluded it was a font issue, but I had some trouble tracking down exactly which font was at fault. While Googling revealed some reports of fonts displaying as garbage characters, they didn’t seem to be quite the same issue that I was running into.

I tried validating fonts using Font Book, but it was a bit of a slog wading through the warnings and errors (many of them simply about duplicate fonts).

However, in my searching, I did come across a suggestion on Apple’s discussion boards that the culprit might reside in a folder I’d hitherto left unchecked: ~/Library/Fonts (the font directory within the Library in your Home directory). Turned out I had nearly 80 fonts in there, only some of which I remembered installing. I dragged them all into the neighboring Fonts Disabled folder, restarted Safari, and voilà: normal text had returned.


I haven’t tracked down exactly which font is responsible–I re-ran Font Book’s validation on just my User fonts, but none of the ones that reported errors proved to be the culprit; when I disabled them, the problem persisted. I’ll have to instead opt for the time-honored tradition of adding fonts back a few at a time and see which one causes trouble.1

  1. Or, far more likely, leave them all disabled until I find I need one again. 

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at or reach him by email at His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is out now.]

If you appreciate articles like this one, support us by becoming a Six Colors subscriber. Subscribers get access to an exclusive podcast, members-only stories, and a special community.

Search Six Colors