Ever since its birth in 1957, the Helvetica font has gained immense popularity, making appearances in all kinds of ads, magazines and publications, and logos: from Target to Toyota, Jeep to American Apparel, countless brands have adopted Helvetica as their choice of typeface when it comes to branding. However, as a 62-year-old font, there are certain drawbacks to Helvetica, such as being too plain in certain contexts, or looking awkward when scaled up without the necessary modifications by designers; in the mobile digital age, Helvetica can be illegible when displayed on small cramped screens. Monotype — the company that owns Helvetica — has noticed these shortcomings, and over the course of two years, has put more than 20 typeface designers on the task to revamp the popular font for the modern era. The end result of their effort is now available, aptly called Helvetica Now.
Helvetica Now is split into three variations, known as “masters”: Micro, Display, and Text. The Micro edition is designed specifically for small screens such as smartphones and tablets, and does away with many of the issues we currently face with illegibility of text in Helvetica on tiny screens. The Display version is engineered for larger signage such as adverts and banners, whilst Text is aimed at standard-sized written material. Different variations will have different aesthetics and spacing, making them perfect for their designed purpose.
The new Helvetica Now also features an array for different weights, ranging from thin to bold, giving designers plenty of creative space to navigate. It also includes alternatives to various letters, such as a ‘beardless’ “G” or a serif-less “u,” furthering the creative liberties of graphic designers.
Check out the video above to see the new Helvetica Now in action, and if you’re interested in trying it out yourself, head over to the Monotype site to license or download the revamped version of one of the most popular fonts in the world.
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