When it comes to the world of fonts, there are hundreds to play around with but few that stand on top. There are the classics like Times New Roman, Arial and Helvetica. Since its creation in 1957, Helvetica has been widely used as a branding font. American Airlines, American Apparel, the New York City subway system and even your federal tax forms all use the ubiquitous font.
But in recent years, digital companies like Apple, Google and Netflix have chosen to ignore Helvetica altogether and design their own Helvetica-inspired fonts. That’s why the company Monotype, which owns the rights to Helvetica, has redesigned and rebranded the font in the hopes that digital companies will fall in love with the new Helvetica Now, a font type designed to work well on digital screens.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of Helvetica and Helvetica Now:
Arielle Pardes, associate editor for Wired, spoke to Kai Ryssdal about the business of fonts and why Helvetica got a digital makeover.
Click the audio player above to hear the interview.
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.