Sunday, July 29, 2007

Neue Helvetica

"Helvetica is the most popular font in existence"
Guardian Unlimited

A redrawn version of Helvetica with more structurally unified set of weights and widths. Helvetica grew in popularity throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and more versions of the family were introduced. This led to vast confusion: the same weight is often referred to by two different names, design features often vary from one face to another, and so on. In the early 1980s (1983 to be exact), Linotype remedied this situation by redrawing the entire Helvetica family. Differences in alignment were corrected, subtle features were made consistent from one face to another, and all the weights and widths were designed to work together as one family. This new drawing is called Neue Helvetica (German for New Helvetica), and incorporates an easy-to-use numbering system to identify various styles and weights. The weight and width program of Helvetica Neue is similar to that of the Univers typeface designed by Adrian Frutiger.

Designers: Max Miedinger and Linotype Staff

Year: 1983

Copyright: Linotype

Publisher: Adobe Systems Inc.

Part of a family that offers an exceptionally wide range of weights and/or styles. Included with Apple's Mac OS X operating system.

Influenced by: Helvetica (1957)

Similar fonts:

Nimbus Sans
Swiss 721
CG Triumvirate


Price: $149.00 USD

Monotype's Arial, designed in 1982, while different from Helvetica in some few details, has identical character widths, and is indistinguishable by most non-specialists. The capital letters C, G, and R, as well as the lowercase letters a, e, r, and t, are useful for quickly distinguishing Arial and Helvetica. Differences include:

  • Helvetica's strokes are typically cut either horizontally or vertically. This is especially visible in the t, r, and C. Arial employs slanted stroke cuts.

  • Helvetica's G has a well-defined spur; Arial does not.

  • The tails of the R glyphs and the a glyphs are different.

In 2007, Helvetica's 50th birthday, Microsoft replaced Arial as the default in Microsoft Office applications with a new sans-serif design Calibri by Luc(as) de Groot.


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