All Hail Helvetica! (On the occasion of its 50th birthday)
May 21, 2007
Listening to FIR #240 this morning, I learned that it is the 50th birthday of the Helvetica font. This actually struck me as a bit odd, as I personally thought the font was older than that, but no, it was created back in 1957 and is now owned by font giant Linotype. The BBC article starts out positively glowing about Helvetica and then introduces a bit of criticism... I'll leave it to you to read it, but I did find this quote from typographer Neville Brody quite intriguing:
"Typefaces control the message. Choice of font dictates what you think about something before you even read the first word. Imagine Shakespeare in large capital drop shadow. Our response would be quite different towards the content."
Exactly. Typefaces definitely do matter. And they definitely evoke passion... just look at the comments to the BBC article!
Personally, I can't say I've ever been a "Helvetica enthusiast". It's a nice font, certainly, and I've used it in numerous documents (and continue to do so), but I don't know that I really have any great passion about it. I do, though, recognize that it has had a tremendous influence within the computer industry as one of the dominant sans serif fonts in the electronic publishing space... and no doubt will continue to be used for quite some time. (And undoubtedly will continue to attract both supporters and detractors!)
Happy Birthday, Helvetica!
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