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Posted in good design, tools of the trade by hemmant jha on January 6, 2011

No, the world does not need another long post in praise of Helvetica, and it will not get one on this blog.

Good design can mean many things. Sometimes, good design is that which does not call attention to itself. It charms through versatility and frequent use. So calm is its immersion into our visual landscape that it does not ‘pop’ often, if at all. There’s no noise, no extraneous detail. And if it’s really charming, it will appear un-designed to more than a few. Such are the perils of good design, and we would do well to revisit their charms. There’s a perfectly fine documentary and a perfectly fine NYT article on this most lovely, and most invisible of fonts.

“Question: What do American Airlines, American Apparel, Comme des Garçons, Evian, Intel, Lufthansa, Nestlé and Toyota have in common?

Answer: They all use the same typeface in their corporate identities – Helvetica. You can also spot that font on the flags fluttering from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ trucks, the album sleeve of John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme,” and all of the signage on the New York subway system.”

Helvetica: The little typeface that leaves a big mark. By Alice Rawsthorn. Published: Sunday, April 1, 2007.


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