The Helvetica® typeface is one of the most famous and popular in the world. It’s been used for every typographic project imaginable, not just because it is on virtually every computer. Helvetica is ubiquitous because it works so well. The design embodies the concept that a typeface should absolutely support the reading process – that clear communication is the primary goal of typography.
Helvetica didn’t start out with that name. The story of Helvetica began in the fall of 1956 in the small Swiss town of Münchenstein. This is where Eduard Hoffmann, managing director of the Haas Type Foundry, commissioned Max Miedinger to draw a typeface that would unseat a popular family offered by one his company’s competitors.
Miedinger, who was an artist and graphic designer before training as a typesetter, came up with a design based on Hoffmann’s instructions, and by the summer or 1957, produced a new sans serif typeface which was given the name “Neue Haas Grotesk.” Simply translated this meant “New Haas Sans Serif.”
The Stempel type foundry, the parent company of Haas, decided to offer the design to its customers in Germany, where Stempel was based. The company, however, felt it would be too difficult to market a new face under another foundry’s name and looked for one that would embody the spirit and heritage of the face. The two companies settled on “Helvetica,” which was a close approximation of “Helvetia,” the Latin name for Switzerland. (“Helvetia” was not chosen because a Swiss sewing machine company and an insurance firm had already taken the name.)
Over the years, the Helvetica family was expanded to encompass an extensive selection of weights and proportions and has been adapted for every typesetting technology.
Helvetica is among the most widely used sans serif typefaces and has been a popular choice for corporate logos, including those for 3M, American Airlines, American Apparel, BMW, Jeep, JCPenney, Lufthansa, Microsoft, Mitsubishi Electric, Orange, Target, Toyota, Panasonic, Motorola, Kawasaki and Verizon Wireless. Apple has incorporated Helvetica in the iOS® platform and the iPod® device. Helvetica is widely used by the U.S. government, most notably on federal income tax forms, and NASA selected the type for the space shuttle orbiters.
Licenses for desktop fonts
A typical desktop font EULA will allow you to install the font on your computer for use with authoring tools including word processors, design tools and other applications that permit font selection. Fonts can also be used for creation of print documents, static images (JPEG, TIFF, PNG) and logos. The cost of a desktop font license is determined by the number of workstations on which the font is to be used.View the desktop EULA for this family
Licenses for Fonts.com Web Fonts subscriptions
The Fonts.com Web Fonts license provides access to a selection of fonts for use on websites for use with CSS@font-face. Font delivery from our global network is available through all subscriptions – even our free plan. Some plans include the option to self-host, access to desktop fonts, and use of our FontExplorer X font manager and Typecast design application. The price of a plan is determined by its pageview allowance and other features included.View the Fonts.com Web Fonts subscription license agreement
Licenses for mobile apps
A mobile app license permits the embedding of the font into the iOS, Android or Windows RT mobile platforms. Licenses are platform-specific meaning a separate license is required for each platform the font is embedded into. Licenses remain valid for the total operating life of the app and a new license is not required to cover free updates to the app.Learn more about licenses for mobile apps
Licenses for electronic publications (eBooks)
An electronic publication license can be used for the embedding of fonts into electronic documents including e-books, e-magazines and e-newspapers. A license covers only a single title but is valid for the full operating life of that title. Every issue of an e-magazine, e-newspaper or other form of e-periodical is considered a separate, new publication. Format variations do not count as separate publications. If a publication is updated and distributed to existing users, a new license is not required. However, updated versions issued to new customers are defined as new publications and require a separate license.Learn more about licenses for eBooks
Server licenses authorize the installation of a font on a server that is accessed by remote users or website visitors. These licenses are commonly used by Web-based businesses providing goods that are personalized by its users such as business cards, images with captions and personalized merchandise. Users are not allowed to download the font file and the font may not be used outside the server environment. The font may not be employed for a software as a service (SaaS) application in which the service is the actual product and not the means of providing the product. Server licenses cover a set number of CPU cores on production servers (development servers are not counted) on which the font is installed. The license is valid for 1 year.Learn more about server licenses