The Helvetica typeface is one of the most popular in the world. From street signs to billboard advertisements, it’s everywhere you look (even if you might not realize it). It was first designed in 1957 by Swiss typeface designer Max Miedinger, with the help of Eduard Hoffmann. Its streamlined, versatile letterforms led it to become the international, typographic voice of Mid-Century Modernism. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, it was adapted into additional styles, and in the ‘80s, it made its first digital appearance as Neue Helvetica. Now—36 years later—it has been given a modern makeover in the form of Helvetica Now.
The creative process for the new Helvetica Now began in December 2014. The designers at Monotype set out to create a new version of the popular typeface that addresses the needs of the 21st century and the digital world. The updated version is still recognizable as Helvetica, but every character has been redrawn and refit for three optical sizes—Micro, Text, and Display. While Micro is designed for small screens, the Display version is perfect for signage, and Text is best suited to standard written materials.
Along with more weights and subtle form differences, alternate characters have also been added, expanding design scope. Erik Spiekermann, founder and partner of Edenspiekermann says, “This is the typeface Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann would have designed back in 1957 if they had known about offset printing, small screens, browsers, digital design tools and UI designers.”
Monotype designed Helvetica Now not just for designers and brands, but for “everyone, everywhere, everything.” The proud design team says, “It has everything we love about Helvetica and everything we need for typography today. This is not a revival. This is not a restoration. This is a statement.”
You can try out Helvetica Now for yourself on the Monotype website.
Inducing Helvetica Now: a modern update to the world's most popular typeface.
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