Helvetica sucks

It really wasn’t designed for small sizes on screens. Words like mil­li­liter can be very dif­fi­cult to deci­pher. If you ever had to read or write a pass­word with 1, i, l or I, you know the prob­lem. That lit­tle com­par­i­son below is also avail­able from the down­load page.


  1. Denis

    It is not sur­pris­ing. It was not made for this ))))

  2. Jake

    No, it wasn’t designed for the many small screens of 1957.

  3. I love Hel­vetica in the right con­text, but new faces are required for new applications.

    Thanks for the com­par­i­son chart.

  4. We didn’t used Hel­vetica for along time — I guess since 95. We were bored because every­thing seems to be design around and with the Helv.

    For the web it wasn’t intented to be used and it was tech­ni­cally impos­si­ble. Nowa­days with newer tech­nol­ogy it’s a bit dif­fer­ent. Web fonts are on the way.

    Hel­vetica isn’t a web font. Period.

    Look at the Lufthansa CD. After so many years, it’s still styl­ish. But even Lufthansa uses Arial etc. on their site.

    Guess why.

  5. Tassneam

    In my opin­ion it’s a stan­dard font.. Wasn’t meant for small size..

    Thanks for the clar­i­fi­ca­tion graphics.

  6. Charlie

    This chart demon­strates how the word ‘mil­li­liter’ is prac­ti­cally unread­able in any type­face, on screen, when set to 12pt. It also shows how supe­rior Hel­vetica is at a larger scale to other sans-serif typefaces.

  7. Louis

    Maybe not in your image, but small Hel­vetica looks pretty awe­some on my retina dis­play. Just sayin’

  8. uhmwelll...

    Point­less ! Since Hel­vetica wasn’t designed for the screen it makes no sense to com­pare it with type­faces designed for the screen. Also as men­tioned before, retina dis­plays and other high res. solu­tions are on their way that will make things look alot more crisp.

  9. A nice com­par­i­son. As men­tioned, it is a lit­tle out of con­text I guess but it’s great to see.

  10. Lower

    I notice you have Meta and Unit avail­able to you, so I’m curi­ous: as the designer of your fonts, do you still own the copy­right to them? To what extent are you bound by the restric­tions of FSI’s EULA like the rest of us?

  11. mmj

    Since Hel­vetica wasn’t designed for the screen it makes no sense to com­pare it with type­faces designed for the screen”

    None of these fonts were designed for screen. If you’re think­ing Arial was because it was included with Win­dows, look up Arial’s his­tory from before Win­dows existed.

  12. erik

    Arial was not designed for the screen (I do know its his­tory), but it was hinted spe­cially and to the same degree as Geor­gia. While its shapes are not per­fect for small sizes on any sub­strate, the atten­tion paid to its ren­der­ing makes its char­ac­ters appear at least con­sis­tent on most screens.

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