My perfect type


Helvetica was created by 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 Akzidenz-Grotesk in the Swiss market. Originally called Neue Haas Grotesk, the typeface’s name was changed by Haas’ German parent company Stempel in 1960 to Helvetica — derived from Confederatio Helvetica, the Latin name for Switzerland — in order to make it more marketable internationally.

Director Gary Hustwit produced a documentary (called Helvetica) about the typeface, which was released in 2007 to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the its introduction. In the film, graphic designer Wim Crouwel says, “The Helvetica was a real step from the 19th century typeface. … We were impressed by that because it was more neutral, and neutralism was a word that we loved. It should be neutral. It shouldn’t have a meaning in itself. The meaning is in the content of the text and not in the typeface.”


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