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Helvetica®

By Linotype

Helvetica is one of the most famous and popular typefaces in the world. It lends an air of lucid efficiency to any typographic message with its clean, no-nonsense shapes. The original typeface was called Neue Haas Grotesk, and was designed in 1957 by Max Miedinger for the Haas'sche Schriftgiesserei (Haas Type Foundry) in Switzerland. In 1960 the name was changed to Helvetica (an adaptation of Helvetia", the Latin name for Switzerland).

Over the years, the original Helvetica family was expanded to include many different weights, but these were not as well coordinated with each other as they might have been. In 1983, D. Stempel AG and Linotype re-designed and digitized Neue Helvetica and updated it into a cohesive font family. At the beginning of the 21st Century, Linotype again released an updated design of Helvetica, the Helvetica World typeface family. This family is much smaller in terms of its number of fonts, but each font makes up for this in terms of language support. Helvetica World supports a number of languages and writing systems from all over the globe.

Helvetica World, an update to the classic Helvetica design using the OpenType font format, contains the following Microsoft code pages:
1252 Latin 1,
1250 Latin 2 Eastern,
1251 Cyrillic,
1253 Greek,
1254 Turk,
1255 Hebrew,
1256 Arabic,
1257 Windows Baltic,
1258 Windows Vietnamese,
as well as a mixture of box drawing element glyphs and mathematical symbols & operators.
In total, each weight of Helvetica World contains 1866 different glyph characters!

Many customers ask us what good non-Latin typefaces can be mixed with Helvetica World. Fortunately, Helvetica World already includes Greek, Cyrillic and a specially-designed Hebrew in its OpenType character set. But Linotype also offers a number of CJK fonts that can be matched with Helvetica World.

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.

Sans Serif
Technical
Display
Grotesque Sans
Condensed
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