Oh Helvetica

July 30, 2015

It was only a matter of time before we brought up the most used and most continuously talked about typeface in the design world today (bar Comic Sans and Papyrus – don’t even get us started). We thought we would get it over with.

Designed in 1957 by Swiss typeface designer Max Miedunger and Eduard Hoffman, Helvetica (or “Hellsvetica”) is arguably the most widely used typeface throughout the world. And this quote from master of type John Boardley (of ilovetypography.com fame) sums it up perfectly; Helvetica is the sweatpants of typefaces. Originally designed for its neutrality and clarity, it has served its purpose so well that it has taken on a completely new controversial meaning due to its overuse in society. There now exists a hotel, a bar and a feature length documentary celebrating the typeface.

Many an argument can be found across the Internet, sparking debate our magic mouses can never scroll to the bottom of. Some resent the saturation it has endured over time (Richard Baird) and some even go so far as to use the word “hate” when discussing it’s “1960s principles”(BrandNew).

Although we think the typeface beautifully crafted in its purest from, we try to avoid Helvetica at most times, as a lesson in branding is one of differentiation. We believe there are just too many unique and well-formed typefaces out there to use something so conventional. Or if the shoe doesn’t fit – we make our own!

Image: AGDA