Monotype’s Helvetica Now Responds To Modern Era

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Monotype has introduced the Helvetica® Now  typeface, a family of fonts reinvented by the Monotype Studio for the modern era. Consisting of 48 fonts and three optical sizes, the Helvetica Now typeface has been produced from size-specific drawings and with size-specific spacing. Every character has been redrawn and refit, and a host of useful alternates have been added to help brands meet modern-day branding challenges. Espousing the simplicity, clarity, timelessness and global appeal of the typeface’s tradition, the design is described as “more sophisticated and graceful than its predecessors.” The typeface has long embodied clean and versatile design, and the Helvetica Now typeface continues the tradition established by the Helvetica and Neue Helvetica families, while introducing a number of improvements.

“Today, we’re asking Helvetica to do more than it ever has before. Previous versions of the typeface weren’t designed to be used in graphic applications that have developed over the last 30 years. As a result, older versions of the font were lacking in some important areas,” said Charles Nix, Type Director at Monotype. “Helvetica Now solves the legibility and style challenges that brands using Helvetica have consciously and unconsciously faced for years. The design introduces a new chapter in the Helvetica story — expanding its look and utility, while reinvigorating its heritage.”

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Three Optical Sizes

The Helvetica Now typeface is available in three optical sizes —Micro, Display and Text. Helvetica Now Micro helps solve the decades-old spacing and legibility shortcomings of single-master versions of the family at the smallest sizes (4- to 7-points). There are now more open apertures, wider forms, a larger x-height, open spacing, larger accents, optical adjustments to the shapes of complex forms, and a number of other changes to produce a highly legible font at very small sizes. Helvetica Now Display offers a range of weights from Hairline to Extra Black, with appropriate spacing, for 14-point settings and up. To achieve big and bold uses, this eliminates the need to trim characters, manual adjustment of spacing and kerning, or the resizing and repositioning of punctuation necessary with the legacy versions. And Helvetica Now Text offers a range of weights from Thin to Black with carefully combed spacing and kerning, making it easier and more pleasing to read, and an ample palette for information-rich design environments.

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Alternate Glyphs 2

Newly designed alternate glyphs have been added across the entire range of the family, including a single-story “a” and a straight-legged capital “R.” Every weight and optical size offers a host of new and useful glyphs, including a suite of Helvetica arrows.

Improved Legibility

Every letter, number, punctuation mark and symbol in the family—nearly 40,000 in all — has been redrawn, analyzed and tested for improved legibility and performance. The result is a better reading experience, as the design’s improved forms and more even spacing mean clearer communication.

“Today, we’re asking Helvetica to do more than it ever has before. Previous versions of the typeface weren’t designed to be used in graphic applications that have developed over the last 30 years. As a result, older versions of the font were lacking in some important areas,” said Charles Nix, type director at Monotype. “Helvetica Now solves the legibility and style challenges that brands using Helvetica have consciously and unconsciously faced for years. The design introduces a new chapter in the Helvetica story — expanding its look and utility, while reinvigorating its heritage.”

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Creative Professionals Comment

“Helvetica Now is the tummy-tuck, facelift and lip filler we’ve been wanting, but were too afraid to ask for. It offers beautifully drawn alternates to some of Helvetica’s most awkward moments, giving it a surprisingly, thrillingly contemporary character.” – Abbott Miller, partner at Pentagram

 “This is the typeface Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann would have designed back in 1957 if they had known about offset printing, small screens, browsers, digital design tools and UI designers.” – Erik Spiekermann, founder and partner, Edenspiekermann

“I’m having fun with Helvetica Now. Bringing in alternate characters like the round ‘I’ dots and the straight-legged ‘R’ will likely annoy Helvetica purists, but I can totally get behind the flexibility and character this adds. I think the Micro cut goes a long way in making any Helvetica usable for longer texts. I wish I had Helvetica Now sooner!” – David Heasty, partner, Tribo

“I like that there are more weights and alternate characters like the ‘R’. The typeface feels very familiar but to the trained eye, you can spot subtle differences—which I like!” – Chris Do, founder, The Futur

“I have been using Helvetica Now as much as I can. The updates to the glyphs really adds a more modern sensibility to the forms without them being knocked out of the Helvetica family camp—the ‘a,’ ‘i,’ ‘t,’ and ‘y’ are all smartly done. It’s an incredible update.” – Andrew Szurley, freelance creative director, Sole Kitchen

“Digital fonts are tools that inspire me again and again. Helvetica Now opens up new perspectives for design because it offers significantly expanded scope in terms of both functionality and form. I’m very excited about the impact Helvetica Now will have on the industry’s imagination.” – Markus Hanzer, corporate designer and university lecturer

Learn More

To learn more about the Helvetica Now typeface, view this video, narrated by Charles Nix.