My first encounter with Helvetica came in the late 1980s, having acquired a Mac Plus computer for college. I was fascinated with this clean, unique font that was very different from the typeface on the family typewriter, a Royal Futura 800. As noted in this BBC article,
Many people attribute its popularity to Apple, and Steve Jobs’ decision to incorporate Helvetica into the Apple operating system. But the typeface had already joined the halls of design classics long before computers were on the scene.
And so it had.
The author of the article explains that Helvetica’s appeal lied in its “legibility and readability.” Often, it is the choice of web publishers who aim for typographical simplicity.
Generally speaking, I am not a fan of blogs that employ “typewriter” fonts, typefaces I appreciate more on the printed page. Using such fonts seem a contrivance; in other words, it’s not very appealing. (That said, I like the look of Munk’s website very much, so there are exceptions.) The main consideration, however, is content: how a page looks is not as important as what it says. No font is going to overcome deficiencies in content.
The digital age affords authors unlimited opportunities to publish, but the words come from within.
Helvetica is not the only sans serif font. There is also Arial1 —
Oh, and here’s my Mac Plus:
© 2014, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.
- And any other number of sans serif fonts. [↩]