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Helvetica NOW

Helvetica NOW

World, Typeface Design –

The world’s most ubiquitous FONT goes through a design update to improve its legibility for today’s digital age

Helvetica Now font on concrete
Helvetica Now has 48 fonts and three optical sizes, ending the need for designers to manually adjust the gold standard of type

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WE ALL LOVE the pure, straight, neutral, minimal, aggressively legible Helvetica, a font created in 1957 by Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann at the Haas type foundry in Switzerland. Helvetica is everywhere – from government documents, to transportation networks and major brands.

Helvetica Now is Helvetica’s first update in 35 years – in 1983 we saw the first personal Apple computer, Microsoft Word was released and the term virtual reality was coined. 

US-based digital typesetting and typeface design studio, Monotype, designed Helvetica Now to consist of 48 fonts and three optical sizes, ending the need for designers to manually adjust the gold standard of type, whether it’s on a billboard or your smartwatch. 

Legibility was at the heart of this major 4 year redesign, requiring every letter, number, punctuation mark and symbol in the family – nearly 40,000 in all – to be painstakingly redrawn analysed and tested for improved performance.

Halvetica Now typeface on water bottle
From smartwatch to 6-storey tall digital billboard, fonts today have to work dynamically and flawlessly across a range of applications – Helvetica Now is designed to do just that
Helvetica Now in various font design
It took 4 years to redesign every letter, number, punctuation mark and symbol in the Helvetica Now family – nearly 40,000 in all
Helvetica Now typeface detail
The Swiss philosophy of simplicity, clarity and neutrality from the original 1957 Helvetica creators Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann, remains uncompromised

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So why now? 

The modern media landscape demands a level of flexibility that wasn’t possible before. Whether it’s your smartwatch, a high-res device, a laptop screen, e-ink, or 200-foot-tall digital prints, fonts have to work dynamically across a range of applications – flawlessly. 

Adaptability is essential for designers today. Mindfully re-designed to solve modern-day branding challenges and ease creative implementation without compromising on its origins, returning to its Swiss mantra of simplicity, clarity and neutrality.

Pricing and availability

Single weights of the Helvetica Now typeface are available for US$35 each. The complete typeface family is available for US$299. The Helvetica Now typeface can be found in Mosaic, Monotype’s cloud-based font discovery, collaboration and management solution.

The typeface can be licensed through MyFonts at an introductory promotion of 50 percent off through 24 May 2019. Helvetica Now Display Black will be available as a free download from MyFonts through 8 July 2019.

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Story compiled by Carol Kraal. Photographs courtesy of Monotype and Zetteler UK