In this article I will be disgusting the typeface Helvetica and the methods of production that it involved from its creation in the mid 15th century. I will also be analysing some information based on the typeface Helvetica from a third source, which was produced by Graphic/ 3D Designer John Bolvyn.   

“Helvetica Font Typeface, sans serif”

“Helvetica is a widely used sans-serif typeface developed in 1957 by Swiss typeface designer Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann. Helvetica was developed in 1957 by Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann at the Haas’sche Schriftgiesserei (Haas type foundry) of Münchenstein, Switzerland. Haas set out to design a new sans-serif typeface that could compete with the successful Akzidenz-Grotesk in the Swiss market.

Originally called Neue Haas Grotesk, its design was based on Schelter-Grotesk and Haas’ Normal Grotesk. The aim of the new design was to create a neutral typeface that had great clarity, no intrinsic meaning in its form, and could be used on a wide variety of signage. When Linotype adopted Neue Haas Grotesk (which was never planned to be a full range of mechanical and hot-metal typefaces) its design was reworked (Wallis, 2010).”

Looking at how Max Miedinger sought to design the Helvetica typeface I found creative in a sense of how he used two styles of type, that gave the style a specific look. Which was not too strong and not too light in presentation. I personally like the idea of how he combined two features to make up a levelled form of typography. 

“After the success of Univers, Arthur Ritzel of Stempel redesigned Neue Haas Grotesk into a larger family.

In 1960, the typeface’s name was changed by Haas’ German parent company Stempel to Helvetica (derived from Confoederatio Helvetica, the Latin name for Switzerland) in order to make it more marketable internationally. It was initially suggested that the type be called ‘Helvetia’ which is the original Latin name for Switzerland. This was ignored by Eduard Hoffmann as he decided it wouldn’t be appropriate to name a type after a country. He then decided on ‘Helvetica’ as this meant ‘Swiss’ as opposed to ‘Switzerland’ (Wallis, 2010).”

I will say that I like this article more than the other because I saw the movie ‘Helvetica’ and I really liked it. So searching information and sources about Helvetica itself and its role in the typography of today was something I enjoyed. Through the movie and by searching again on Wikipedia, I’ve learned that Helvetica was originally swiss and it was called Die Neue Haas Grotesk because it was based on the font Schelter – Grotesk. Later in years and also for market purpose, Haas (german company) gave it the name Helvetica because of Confoederatio Helvetica (latin name for Switzerland).

“Helvetica Type font poster advert”

From the already designed typefaces that were in the Swiss market, the Haas type foundry set up a task to create a fresh new sans-serif design typeface that would have the right elements enabling it to compete with the Akzidenz-Grotesk in the Swiss market.

“T-shirt Design of Helbotica (Helvetica Typeface)”

From the already designed typefaces that were in the Swiss market, the Haas type foundry set up a task to create a fresh new sans-serif design typeface that would have the right elements enabling it to compete with the Akzidenz-Grotesk in the Swiss market.

I believe the primary objective of their aim was to produce a new design style that was bold but humble, and that did not come across too strongly through it’s features. Also I think their intentions were to make the typeface flexible, in a way that it could be used for a wide range of people and most probably fellow typographers. What interests me is when the linotype adopted the Neue Haas Grotesk, the ideas for the typeface design was thought through more considerately. I think they wanted to produce it with a lesser range of hot-metal and mechanical typefaces, so basically to get it at the standard that they originally aimed for the design was reworked.   

By reading from John’s analysis on the history of Helvetica, I was able to gain a better understanding of the methods that Haas (german company) used as a means of pushing the typeface in the right direction. I personally agree with John on how observing a specific subject like Helvetica for example can be more appealing. In my opinion I think John is stating that extracting information both from the internet as well as from a visual presentation can help a person have a clearer view on the subject.

I also like the point he made with the Haas (german company). “For market purposes, Haas (german company) gave it the name Helvetica”. According to John’s analysis the german company wanted the typeface to go further in the market, so they changed the original name to Helvetica. Which I think gave it a stronger representation, being that the name was based on a latin name for Switzerland.

Bibliography

Lawrence W Wallis. (2010). Freebase. http://www.freebase.com/view/en/helvetica

Lawrence W Wallis. (2010). Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/index.html?curid=147375

Image1. http://myxmanifest.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/type-nerds/

Image2. http://www.toddroeth.com/class/images/33.jpg

Image3. gadgets.zezore.com/archives/397

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