arial v helveticaWhat did Helvetica say to Arial? You’re such a copy cat!


Helvetica was designed by Max Miedinger in 1957, based on Akzidenz Grotesk (1896).

It was originally called Neue Haas Grotesque but in 1960 became Helvetica or “Swiss”, Helvetica being the Latin word for Switzerland.

Helvetica is classified as a Grotesque or transitional san serif.

Arial was the creation of Robin Nicholas and Patricia Saunders in 1982 for Monotype. A very young face in the type world! It is classified as Neo Grotesque and was originally called Sonoran San Serif and was specifically designed for IBM’s bitmapped font laser printers. It was first supplied with Windows 3.1 in 1992. It has been a core font in all Windows operating systems until replaced with Calibri in Vista.

So do you prefer Arial to Helvetica?

Do you know the difference?

See the diagram with the alphabets in both typefaces faces, the black outline is helvetica so you can see how each letter compares with it respective one. Arial is in red.

Look at the angles of the strokes and the slight variations in weights. The differences are very subtle but when you know what you are looking for the differences are quite strong.

Both typefaces are in constant use everywhere you look and surprisingly can be found in logotypes. The simplicity and clear glyphs can never be underestimated and taken for granted in good design. The font families have expanded and incorporate condensed and expanded variations with Helvetica Neue being a very popular choice in many tight corners when space is critical, however it has an attractive modern feel to it in all weights and is and a good all round typeface in any good layout.

Do you have a preference, Arial or Helvetica?