The Swiss typeface designer Max Miedinger first designed Helvetica in 1957. We now refer to it as the most appropriate font due to its smooth lines, modern efficiency, and, most importantly, its neutrality. Initially, this popular typeface was called Neue Haas Grotesk, and then it was changed in 1960 to Helvetica, which translates to "Swiss" in Latin.
Helvetica gets widely used across various industries and applications; in fact, brands such as BMW, American Airlines, Crate & Barrel, Motorola, and The North Face all have logos made up of the same typeface.
And while some people have considerable admiration for Helvetica, equally as many people dislike the typeface. While some dislike it for its overuse, others dislike that it's not great for user interface. Often the font has issues with tight spacing, uniformities, and a lack of rhythm and contrast.
While at first glance, everything about the typeface is sleek and straightforward, recently, designers have been searching for a variable font as brands wish to improve their website's speed and user interface without compromising their overall design.
To help these brands, Monotype Studio is announcing the release of Helvetica Now Variable font. This variable font packages all the essential DNA of the typeface into one compact file that saves both time and space while simultaneously reducing significant restrictions on web designers and developers.
Helvetica Now Variable is a more robust version of the foundry's Helvetica Now released in 2019. This redesign is intended to inspire designers to blend hairline weights with extra black weights for more energized and creative typographical designs.
“The incredibly positive reception to Helvetica Now makes us proud to build upon this time-tested design even further,” said Charles Nix, Monotype creative type director, in a press release. “This font gives designers the firepower they need—from greater creative freedom to typographic expression—to produce exquisitely fine-tuned typography and expressive, animated headlines. Moreover, it’s just plain fun, with the potential to bring the good news of variable fonts to the masses. Helvetica Now Variable is everything Helvetica should be today.”
So whether or not you love or hate Helvetica, there's no denying that it was in dire need of a new variable font chapter. While this isn't a redesign or a revival, it is a statement that Helvetica is for any design and any designer.