Why is the use of Helvetica so popular, even in contemporary design?

I have brought together some research of the history of Helvetica, from my design course over the last few weeks. The research pronounces how Helvetica was brought to such design fame as an international type design hero.


The typeface was previously titled ‘Neue Haas Grotesk’, but was soon coined as ‘Helvetica’, because it could be translated into ‘Switzerland’ In Latin.

The design and manufacturing culture of Switzerland allowed the typeface to flourish. Switzerland evolved greater connections internationally, as the Switzerland relied on trade as a main source of income from neighboring countries.

Type designers Max Maxmadinger and Edward Hoffman produced the typeface for the Haas type foundry in 1957.

The typeface was developed for the Haas Type Foundry in Münchenstein, Switzerland to create an efficient san-serif typeface that could be malleable in advertising.

The typeface is believed to be as popular as it is today because of its opportunity to illustrate highly readable letterforms. The typeface is neither sterile and provides a sense of warmth, despite its purity of form.

The Haas Type Foundry used Helvetica in response to the current interest in the modernism in graphic styles of 1957. Helvetica was new and easily recognisable, which would have contributed to its popular use in the print and signage industry.

Designer Massimo Vignelli first used the typeface in the 1969s to create efficient signage display for the New York signage display for the underground transport system or ‘the subway’.

Today, Helvetica has been developed to be one of the most widely used san-serif typefaces. The following letterforms have been created for numerous alphabets including Latin, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Urdu, Khmer and Vietnamese.

Overall, Helvetica is greatly popular because of its malleable usage properties, as the typeface is entirely appropriate and most of all readable at varying pts.

However, the introduction to the Macintosh and windows computer has displayed must dispute. As type rival, Arial was produced for windows to provide an option for a Helvetica look-a-like.

Helvetica had become lesser known; and was reduced to the Macintosh in envy of the popular Arial copycat, provided with every windows computer.



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