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Helvetica at 50

The BBC actually has an article in its magazine noting the golden anniversary of a typeface.

The comments are fun, including a number of really bad jokes, with a lot of people suddenly embarrassed that they are part of a discussion about something this trivial.

I take such things seriously as a publisher is one of my larger clients and I occasionally have to write Postscript code for him to do something for a book. Most people have heard of “Postscript fonts”, but are unaware that it is a language.

I buck the trend and use a serif typeface on this blog because I find it more readable, which is important when you wear bifocals.

I was going to specify Helvetica for this post, but I only have it as a Postscript typeface, and most people probably don’t have on their machines, so there’s no point.


1 hipparchia { 05.10.07 at 6:36 pm }

helvetica [and its cousins]: nice clean unobtrusive fonts that don’t get in the way of the graphics i produce. i use arial a LOT at work. trivial? phffttt!

2 Bryan { 05.10.07 at 7:23 pm }

I quit Mensa when they start producing the Bulletin in Helvetica. I find it hard to read at a reasonable speed. When you have to stop to figure out if it was “rn” or “m”, it becomes a distraction.

3 Steve Bates { 05.11.07 at 2:29 am }

No Arial Bold;
It leaves him quite cold.
Verdana? to him, that’s emetica;
If there is no serif,
He calls out the sheriff…
You’ll not send him straight to Helvetica!

– SB the YDD

I blog mostly in MS Comic Sans, not because it’s all that easy to read, but because the site started out as a doggerel site, and I wanted a silly typeface available in any browser. Most of the major dailies seem to use something akin to Times Roman in their article body text, and it works pretty well. I particularly like what the Washington Post does… their selection of typeface, of course, not their content.

4 Bryan { 05.11.07 at 12:24 pm }

Times Roman ws commissioned by The Times [the real one in London] to be readable in small type sizes so they could put more words in the same space. I only use the generic serif and sans serif in the style sheet, so people see the blog in their choice of fonts on their browser, assuming they know that they can specify their choice for default serif, sans serif, and monospaced fonts.