Typeface company Monotype has overhauled the Helvetica typeface over 60 years after it was first created to give it a fresh new look for the 21st century. Spearheaded by the company’s type director Charles Nix, Monotype‘s redesign provides a modern take on the typeface that Swiss designer Max Miedinger created in 1957.
Called Helvetica Now, the new family of 48 fonts and three sizes is intended to optimize the original version for use in digital graphic design, and allow more flexibility and improved legibility for branding. “Older versions of the font lacked in some important areas,” Nix told Dezeen. “Helvetica Now solves the legibility and style challenges that brands using Helvetica have consciously and unconsciously faced for years.”
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This Is Helvetica Now
Swiss designer Max Miedinger created Helvetica in 1957.
Monotype redesigned this great font in 2019.
The new design combines clarity, simplicity, and neutrality; an “often-repeated mantra” Monotype used to guide themselves through the process of redesigning the nearly 40,000 characters.
Described by Nix as “screen-first font”, the updated typeface includes additional alternate characters and typographic tools. Some features, like the glyph “f”, resembles code typography, as the line through the stem is slightly pinched. Since its creation in the 1950s, Helvetica’s design has gone through a number of iterations.
However, it’s been 35 years since the last major redesign of Helvetica. Nix believes the upgrade is long overdue. “That’s a long time – especially in digital years,” he said. “It was made for a different time – a far less screen-dependent time.”
There are three sizes in the font family. Monotype made sure that their new Helvetica font will be able to serve different uses, including text, micro, and display.
Smooth and simple
Monotype’s overhaul involved rounding the style of characters in the typeface.
Monotype combined feedback from customers with visual and technical updates to create a new font. The redesign gives a nod to its original predecessors, even before the well-known last version, Neue Helvetica was born. [ more ]
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