In re: Helvetica. Is it just a font?

2551.jpgYou may have guessed, without even really knowing (or thinking about) that the font Helvetica is from Switzerland as it echoes some of the values of Swiss design and neutrality. You may not know that its now 50 years old, many major corporations use it for their logos (including Microsoft who used Arial (a knock off) in Windows in order to save licensing Helvetica), along with countless other important locations (NYC subway). There is a good photo essay on the font over at Slate and as someone who is interested in fonts and design I thought it was pretty interesting. See “The Helvetica Hegemony: How an unassuming font took over the world.

Also see BBC “The Helvetica font is celebrating its 50th birthday. You’ve probably seen it a thousand times today. Why?” which questions if the font merely propagates bland uniformity “Type “I hate Helvetica” into Google and there are forums for people who rage at the mindless “corporate chic” of this dominant font. They see it as a vehicle for social conformity through consumerism, shifting product with a great big steam-roller of neutrality…”

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