Web-safe alternative to Univers?
My company uses the Univers font as its official typeface and I'm looking for a good Web-safe alternative. The options are limited, but typefaces are really my weak point and I can't tell which ones are more like it.
To me Arial looks like my best bet, but there may be subtle differences I'm not seeing. However, using a Web-Font is not an option. I am looking for the most similar base font.
These are the only options:
Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif "Arial Black", Gadget, sans-serif "Comic Sans MS", cursive, sans-serif Impact, Charcoal, sans-serif "Lucida Sans Unicode", "Lucida Grande", sans-serif Tahoma, Geneva, sans-serif "Trebuchet MS", Helvetica, sans-serif Verdana, Geneva, sans-serif
Basically what Baka said in comments, and you acknowledged in your edit. If you can't use web-fonts then the default is
sans-serif which will probably be Arial or Helvetica for most of your browsers. You could try using Verdana at the top of the stack.
font-family: 'Verdana', sans-serif;
But its pretty negligible at that point. Helvetica is actually closer to Univers so default for a lot of Mac users would be better than Verdana.
As mentioned in the comments, "web-safe" isn't quite what it used to be. The best way to be "web-safe" is to use a web font.
If cost is a barrier, there are many quality free choices.
If hosting yourself is a barrier, then you can use Google's services to do it for you for free.
If using an external service is a barrier, then you can download free fonts and host yourself.
Browser compatibility is not a barrier. IE 4+
If I was able to convince you...
It was made for the screen and has a robust set of weights.
For further reference: