The digital revival of the Neue Haas Grotesk typeface, as designed by Christian Schwartz, restores the essence and nuance of the original, iconic 1950s family.
Neue Haas Grotesk™ History
If you are a typophile, you may well be familiar with the Neue Haas Grotesk™ typeface – even though until now it has only been available as metal type. If you don’t recognize the name, but the typeface looks familiar, here’s why: In the late 1950s, shortly after its introduction, Neue Haas Grotesk became the Helvetica® typeface family.
When Neue Haas Grotesk became the typeface we know as Helvetica, certain design concessions were made. Christian Schwartz, who designed the digital revival of Neue Haas Grotesk, points out that it “was originally produced for typesetting by hand in a range of sizes from 5 to 72 points, but digital Helvetica has always been one-size-fits-all, which leads to unfortunate compromises.” Helvetica is an extensive family and an important mainstay of typographic communication, but it has lost some of the warmth and personality of Hoffmann’s original vision and strayed from Miedinger’s seminal shapes. [Eduard Hoffmann, general manager of the Haas Typefoundry in Switzerland during the 1940s and ’50s, commissioned Max Miedinger, formerly a salesman for the foundry, to draw the new typeface in the mid ’50s.]
The new digital Neue Haas Grotesk family consists of eight weights of display designs ranging from an elegant extra thin to a commanding black, in addition to three weights developed specifically for setting text. All designs have complementary italics. The Neue Haas Grotesk family is available as a suite of OpenType® Pro fonts that offer an extended character set supporting most Central European and many Eastern European languages. Far from being just “another sans,” Neue Haas Grotesk brings the world’s most famous sans serif back to its roots.