Helvetica has received much acclaim over the 50 years since its conception. Much of this acclaim has been positive, but there has also been a reaction from some proposing its lack of personality and general over-use has tarnished its reputation as a beautiful, and timeless typeface. Helvetica has been received with open arms by nearly the entire developed world. Commercially, Helvetica is the undisputed champion of type, with companies like American Airlines, Microsoft, and Jeep supporting it, and many Government outlets and organizations supporting it including NASA. Cities worldwide also use Helvetica for street signage, further enabling it as the most easily recognizable typeface ever created.
The influence that Helvetica has had on everyone from the general public, to type specialists is so extremely vast that it cannot be summarized without truly downplaying what effects it has had. Nearly everyone that can read a language written in the Latin alphabet has seen the typeface Helvetica, whether they knew it or not. When Max Meidinger and Edward Hoffman designed Helvetica, they set out to create a typeface to compete with another Swiss typeface, which was the current giant of the time, Akzidens-Grotesk. In doing so, they knew the type was going to become widely used for a period of time, but they couldn’t have known how timeless and popular Helvetica would become.
Helvetica has, without question, become the most persuasive typeface used to date. When some see Helvetica, they feel secure, comfortable, and they know that the product or service being offered is going to be reliable. When others see Helvetica, they feel cold, emotionless, and corporate with no character. As time has proven, Helvetica is a truly multifaceted typeface which seems to take on a personality of its own depending on the context in which it is used. It is likely a new typographic giant will emerge sometime in the future, but for now Helvetica is here to stay....
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