Since its development in 1957 by Swiss typeface designer Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann, The Helvetica font has undoubtedly dominated the Typography world with its different font family. A sans-serif typeface, you can see Helvetica font everywhere from posters to Hoardings, from print to web. Even after being on the board for more than half a century, it is still showing no signs of retiring from Typeface world.
Helvetica was placed at number one on FontShop Germany’s list “Best Fonts of All Time”. This font has various versions like Cyrillic, Light, Greek, Condensed, Inserat, Textbook, Rounded and, Neue etc and each version has got love and appreciation from all over the world. If you want to create professional printout, you should consider a commercial font. Free fonts often have not all characters and signs, and have no kerning pairs.
Before actually buying the font, lets have a look at history of Helvetica font and its versions.
Helvetica name is derived from Helvetia, the Latin name for Switzerland. New weights were added by the Stempel foundry. Later, Merganthaler Linotype added new versions. The Cyrillic version was designed in-house in the 1970s at D. Stempel AG, then critiqued and redesigned in 1992 under the advice of Jovica Veljovic. Matthew Carter designed the Helvetica Greek, Helvetica Light was designed by Stempel’s artistic director Erich Schultz-Anker, in conjunction with Arthur Ritzel.
Helvetica Compressed is designed by Matthew Carter, they are narrow variants that are tighter than the Helvetica Condensed. It shares some design elements with Helvetica Inserat, but using curved tail in Q, downward pointing branch in r, and tilde bottom £. The family consists of Helvetica Compressed, Helvetica Extra Compressed, Helvetica Ultra Compressed fonts. Helvetica Textbook is an alternate design of the typeface.
Helvetica Inserat is a version designed in 1957 primarily for use in the advertising industry. Sharing similar metric as Helvetica Black Condensed, the design gives the glyphs a more squared appearance, similar to Impact and Haettenschweiler. Helvetica Rounded is a version containing rounded stroke terminators. Only bold, bold oblique, black, black oblique, bold condensed, bold outline fonts were made, with outline font not issued in digital form by Linotype. Helvetica Narrow is a version where its width is between Helvetica Compressed and Helvetica Condensed. However, the width is scaled in a way that is optically consistent with the widest width fonts.
Neue Helvetica is a reworking of the typeface with a more structurally unified set of heights and widths. It was developed at D. Stempel AG, Linotype’s daughter company. Other changes include improved legibility, heavier punctuation marks, and increased spacing in the numbers. Neue Helvetica uses a numerical design classification scheme, like Univers. Linotype distributes Neue Helvetica on CD. Neue Helvetica also comes in variants for Central European and Cyrillic text. Neue Helvetica W1G is a version with Latin Extended, Greek, Cyrillic scripts support. Only OpenType CFF font format was released. The family includes the fonts from the older Neue Helvetica counterparts, except Neue Helvetica 75 Bold Outline. Additional OpenType features include subscript/superscript. Helvetica World also called Helvetica Linotype, supports Arabic, Cyrillic, Greek, Hebrew, and Vietnamese scripts. The family consists of four fonts in 2 weights and 1 width, with complementary italics. The Arabic glyphs were based on a redesigned Yakout font family from Linotype. Latin kerning and spacing were redesigned to have consistent spacing. John Hudson of Tiro Typeworks designed the Hebrew glyphs for the font family, as well as the Cyrillic, and Greek letters.
This article is divided in 2 further sections: