The Helvetica Font Has Been Revamped for the First Time in Decades

Monotype
Monotype

The Helvetica font family is everywhere. It’s used on everything from subway signage to federal tax forms to advertisements for a diverse group of companies, including Harley-Davidson, Oral-B, and Target. Job seekers are also likely familiar with its clean, sans-serif characters, which make it one of the best fonts for a resume.

“If it's me, [I’m using] Helvetica,” Matt Luckhurst, a graphic designer, told Bloomberg in 2015. “Helvetica is beautiful. There is only one Helvetica.”

Until now. As Wired reports, the typeface has just been revamped for the first time in decades by Monotype, which boasts the world’s largest type library and owns the rights to Helvetica. The new and improved version, called Helvetica Now, aims to better serve modern users while also working out the kinks associated with the old design.

The new Helvetica font
Monotype

While Helvetica is still ubiquitous, several major companies—including Google, Apple, IBM, and Netflix—have dropped the typeface for branding purposes in recent years. Issues related to kerning, punctuation sizes, and scrunched characters are all common gripes with the old version.

By contrast, Helvetica Now comes in three versions to suit different needs. There’s a Micro version for small screens, a Display version for larger type sizes, and a Text version that makes use of white space to offset visually “demanding” designs. Companies will need to buy the license to the new Helvetica, but the font’s creators are hopeful that everyone will be making the switch in due time.

“Helvetica Now is the tummy-tuck, facelift, and lip filler we’ve been wanting, but were too afraid to ask for,” graphic designer Abbott Miller, a partner at design consultancy Pentagram, said in a statement. “It offers beautifully drawn alternates to some of Helvetica’s most awkward moments, giving it a surprisingly, thrillingly contemporary character.”

The original Helvetica was invented in 1957 by two Swiss designers who dubbed their typeface Neue Haas Grotesk. It wasn’t until 1961 that the typeface was renamed Helvetica, and the font’s last major facelift came in 1982 with the release of the desktop-friendly Neue Helvetica.

Of course, that was pre-internet, and Monotype’s director, Charles Nix, says everyone's font needs have changed a great deal in the intervening decades. “Neue Helvetica was the first digitization of Helvetica,” Nix said. “That was a long time ago, and so much has happened in our world since then.”

[h/t Wired]

Decorate Your Walls With This Poster of Every Single Character From The Office

Pop Chart Labs
Pop Chart Labs

NBC’s The Office will celebrate its 15th anniversary next year, and fans remain as engaged as ever in the characters who made the show a success. With this poster from Pop Chart, you can show off your own fondness for the show’s beloved cast of personalities.

The print by itself sells for $40, but various finishing options make it a little more expensive. Pop Chart’s poster features 171 different “Faces of Scranton”—plus 16 “Threat Level Midnight” characters and six of Michael Scott’s alter egos—all of which include biographical information like job titles, nicknames, and relationship details.


Pop Chart Labs

Pop Chart’s “Faces of Scranton” print comes just in time for the holidays. If you’re looking for other pop culture-themed gifts for your friends and relatives (or for yourself!), check out this list of 12 products for people who can’t get enough of The Office.

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Hellvetica Is the Typeface of Your Nightmares

Zephyr18/iStock via Getty Images
Zephyr18/iStock via Getty Images

If you spot a slack-jawed graphic designer staring at their computer screen with an expression of horror, they haven’t just seen a ghost—they’ve seen Hellvetica.

Though the terrible typeface is meant as a Halloween-themed take on the traditionally pleasing Helvetica, it doesn’t contain jagged edges, dripping blood, or any other characteristically spooky elements you might imagine.

Instead, it’s just really poorly spaced. In typography, the process of adjusting the space between letters is called kerning. While you probably peruse materials typed in well-kerned fonts without thinking about letter spacing at all, sloppy kerning can make things pretty difficult to read.

According to The Verge, the deliberate kerning catastrophe that is Hellvetica was masterminded by New York-based creative directors Zack Roif and Matthew Woodward, who may have just become the graphic design industry’s first supervillains.

“Kern in hell,” the website states, along with “Welcome to type purgatory,” and “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog and into the underworld,” all typed in the visually abhorrent Hellvetica.

It also features a fake quote from the Swiss creator of Helvetica, Max Miedinger, who died in 1980 and is undoubtedly rolling in his grave. “What have you done?” he supposedly said.

However, it did pique the interest of the diabolical founder of hell itself.

“I don’t hate it,” Satan said.

If you want to partake in the pandemonium by typing in Hellvetica this Halloween or forever, you can download it here.

[h/t The Verge]

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