$30 off During Our Annual Pro Sale. View Details »

Helvetica is dead!

Gerry Leonidas
October 20, 2016

Helvetica is dead!

From the point when typefaces became independent commercial products, myth and constructed identities have been integral parts of every successful design. No other typeface exemplifies this as well as Helvetica. While meaningful a few decades ago, the excessive use of the typeface in recent years make it very clear that its time has passed: it works badly for our typesetting needs, and will perform even worse in the coming years. The documents and environments we use today have exceeded the design space of Helvetica: a new concept for a sans family is needed. Indeed, many designers are placing bets on what the next phase in the development of sans serifs will be. Speaking from a typographic perspective, Gerry shows why Helvetica as we know it is bankrupt, and lay out a blueprint for a competent typeface family to replace it. He may be showing some good candidates.

Gerry Leonidas

October 20, 2016

More Decks by Gerry Leonidas

Other Decks in Design


  1. Helvetica est mort! Gerry Leonidas

  2. materiality community memory typemaking
 typesetting distribution
 networks content

  3. Document structures Technology of reproduction Friction surrounding innovation

  4. None
  5. None
  6. None
  7. None
  8. None
  9. • investment to start • risk of using tools •

    risk for deltas • risk of distribution • risk of marketing risk = time + effort + opportunity cost
  10. Stable documents 
 and expensive, slow technologies 
 favour stable

    type styles 
 with long lives, and 
 marginal variations
  11. Dynamic reading environments 
 and cheap/free technologies 
 enable experimentation

    in styles
 and a volatile, 
 supply-driven market
  12. 1900 1953 1919 1968 1933 2000 2016 1985

  13. http://futurehrtrends.eiu.com/report-2015/profile-of-the-global-workforce-present-and-future/

  14. None
  15. None
  16. None
  17. None
  18. None
  19. None
  20. None
  21. None
  22. None
  23. Modernity was debunked 
 a generation ago

  24. None
  25. [a reminder on modularity]

  26. None
  27. None
  28. None
  29. None
  30. [insert boring slide with: - OEM fonts - Frutiger and

    its endless clones - most OFL bloated character sets]
  31. None
  32. None
  33. fidelity originality typographic competence traditionalism modernity

  34. None
  35. None
  36. None
  37. None
  38. None
  39. None
  40. None
  41. None
  42. None
  43. None
  44. None

    THIRTY-EIGHTH NIGHT... he came upon. The Caliph also pulled off his person two vests of Alexandrian and Ba’lbak silk, a loose inner robe and a long-sleeved outer coat, and said to the fisherman, “Take them and put them on,” while he assumed the foul gaberdine and filthy turband and drew a corner of the head-cloth as a mouth-veil before his face. Then said he to the fisherman, “Get thee about thy business!; and the man kissed the Caliph’s feet and thanked him and improvised the following couplets, Thou hast granted more favours than ever I craved; Thou hast satisfied needs which my heart enslaved: I will thank thee and thank whileas life shall last, And my bones will praise thee in grave engraved! Hardly had the fisherman ended his verse, when the lice began to crawl over the Caliph’s skin, and he fell to catching them on his neck with his right and left and throwing them from him, while he cried, “O fisherman, woe to thee! what be this abundance of lice on thy gaberdine.” “O my lord,” replied he, “they may annoy thee just at first, but before a week is past thou wilt not feel them nor think of them.” The Caliph laughed and said to him, “Out on thee! Shall I leave this gaberdine of thine so long on my body?” Quoth the fisherman, “I would say a word to thee but I am ashamed in presence of the Caliph!”; and quoth he, “Say what thou hast to say.” “It passed through my thought, O Commander of the Faithful,” said the fisherman, “that, since thou wishest to learn fishing so thou mayest have in hand an honest trade whereby to gain thy livelihood 27, this my gaberdine besitteth thee right well.” The Commander of the Faithful laughed at this speech, and the fisherman went his way. Then the Caliph took up the basket of fish and, strewing 27 - The fisherman alludes to a practice of Al-Islam instituted by Caliph Omar, that all rulers should work at some handicraft in order to spare the public treasure. Hence Sulatan Mu’ayyad of Cairo was a caligrapher who sold his work and his ex- ample was followed by the Turkish Sultans Mahuud Abd al-Majid and Adb al-Aziz. German royalties prefer carpentering and Louis XVL watch making. Caliph’s wrath hath passed away,” said Ja’afar, and he replied, “Yes, ‘tis gone.” Thereupon they descended from the tree, and the Caliph said to Ja’afar, “I wish to go in and sit with them and hear the damsel sing before me.” “O Commander of the Faithful,” replied Ja’afar, “if thou go in to them they will be terribly troubled, and Shaykh Ibrahim will assuredly die of fright.” But the Caliph answered, “O Ja’afar, thou must teach me some device wherewith to delude them and whereby I can foregather with them without their knowing me.” So they walked towards the Tigris pondering the matter, and presently came upon a fisherman who stood fishing under the pavilion windows. Now some time before this, the Caliph (being in the pavilion) had called to Shaykh Ibrahim and asked him, “What noise is this I hear under the windows?” and he had answered, “It is voices of fisher folk catching fish:” so quoth the Caliph, “Go down and forbid them this place;” and he forbade them accordingly. However that night a fisherman named Karim, happening to pass by and seeing the garden gate open, said to himself, “This is a time of negligence; and I will take advantage of it to do a bit of fishing.” So he took his net and cast it, but he had hardly done so when behold, the Caliph come up single-handed and, standing hard by, knew him and called aloud to him, “Ho, Karim!” The fisherman, hearing himself named, turned round, and seeing the Caliph, trembled and his side-muscles quivered, as he cried, “By Allah, O Commander of the Faithful, I did it not in mockery of the mandate; but poverty and a large family drove me to what thou seest!” Quoth the Caliph, “Make a cast in my name.” At this the fisherman was glad and going to the bank threw his net, then waiting till it had spread out at full stretch and settled down, hauled it up and found in it various kinds of fish. The Caliph was pleased and said, “O Karim, doff thy habit.” So he put off a gaberdine of coarse woollen stuff patched in an hundred places whereon the lice were rampant, and a turband which had never been untwisted for three years but to which he had sown every rag 142 143
  46. Hebert Brandl, Peter Vann ARCHITECTURE NEUE HORIZONTE Photo: Gian Marco

    Castelberg Hamburg steht nach der Olympia-Niederlage mit blanken Händen da. Die Stadt hat sich blamiert. Stimmt das? Richtig ist: Die Spiele 2024 hätten Hamburg einen enormen Entwicklungsschub beschert. Dieser Schub hätte viele Mittel an wenigen Orten konzentriert, die anderswo fehlen würden. gecancelte Planung der Randbebauung Tempelhof – selbst ein Großprojekt wie der neue Stadtteil Europacity am Hauptbahnhof ist dicht gepacktes Mittelmaß, das zum normalen Stadtquartier tiefgestapelt wird. Hamburg hingegen hat sich in den letzten Jahren nicht nur einiges getraut, sondern hat dies auch offensiv vertreten. Mit dem Doppelpack aus HafenCity und IBA Wilhelmsburg gab es eine Balance zwischen großen und kleinen Eingriffen, zwischen De-luxe-City und sozialem Stadtumbau. Die expandierenden Großstädte Deutsch- lands werden in Zukunft beides brauchen: sichtbare und geduldige Innovationen für Stadtquartiere und deren öffentli- che Räume, die lange zu kurz gekommen sind, aber auch ambitionierte Treiber im Sinne eines veränderten Stadtbildes. Die langfristige Idee der Hamburger Olym- piabewerbung, den Hafen als Bindeglied zwischen Nord- und Südstadt umzubauen und dafür die Halbinsel Kleiner Grasbrook als Katalysator zu verwenden – das kann man auch im Rückblick betonen – war alles in allem die überzeugendste städte- bauliche Idee, die die deutschen Städte Leipzig, München, Berlin mit ihren in den letzten Jahren in den Sand gesetzten Olympia-Bewerbungen zu bieten hatten. Die Hamburger Blamage hält sich da in Grenzen. In diesem Jahr feiert man in Kassel das 60. Jubiläum der documenta, der selbsternannten Weltkunstschau, die der Maler und Kunstpädagoge Arnold Bode 1955 ins Leben rief. Angetreten, um der kulturell defizitären jungen Bundesrepublik westlich internationale Kunstproduktion nahezubringen, durchlebte die Institution documenta in ihren bislang 13 Auflagen zahlreiche kuratorische Anpassungen. Eine erste radikale Erweiterung vollzog 1972 der schweizerische Generalsekretär Harald Szeemann mit der documenta 5: Befragung der Realität. Das Museum der 100 Tage wurde zum 100-Tage-Ereignis, Dieser Schub hätte viele Mittel an wenigen Orten konzentriert, die anderswo fehlen würden. Die Abstimmung der Hamburger Bürger war eine klare Aussage gegen diese Konzen tration in einer unübersichtlichen gesellschaft lichen Situation. Sie war vor allem auch ein Misstrauen- svotum gegen den geschäftsgierigen Bauherren IOC und seine intransparente korrupte Führung. Die Abstimmung der Hamburger Bürger war eine klare Aussage gegen diese Konzen tration in ein- er unübersichtlichen gesellschaft lichen Situation. Sie war vor allem auch ein Misstrauensvotum gegen den geschäftsgierigen Bauherren IOC und seine intransparente korrupte Führung. Die Botschaft des Volksentscheids gegen die Olymp- ischen Spiele liegt aber nur scheinbar auf gleicher Wellenlänge mit dem Berliner Votum gegen die Randbebauung des Tempelhofer Flugfelds. Denn die Berliner Planung hat den Gedanken an große, ambitionierte Projekte seit langem ad acta gelegt; die Hauptstadtplanung duckt sich selbst dort, wo umfangreich geplant wird, ins Kleine. Das gilt nicht nur für die dilettantische und dann 62 Hebert Brandl, Peter Vann
  47. None
  48. None
  49. Andrew Sparrow Back for a moment now to the larger

    fallout from the pro-Brexit vote and it has emerged that the British and Irish governments are set to discuss the fallout from the Brexit vote for the first time on Wednesday. Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Charlie Flanagan, and the Northern Ireland Secretary, Theresa Villiers, will talk about the impact of the referendum on cross-border relations when they meet in Belfast. Speaking ahead of the visit to Northern Ireland, where 56% of those who voted backed Remain, Flanagan said: It is also my first visit since last Thursday’s referendum and I want again to reassure people that the Irish Government in its contacts with EU partners continues to emphasise that the Northern Ireland and all-island dimensions will be an area for priority attention in all post-referendum negotiations processes, including in relation to the status of the border. Steven Morris In his interview on the BBC News (see 5.20pm) Alastair Campbell said that the Labour party was becoming a “sect” under Jeremy Corbyn. And he said that many of the new members who had joined the party because they liked Corbyn were not much help when it came to campaigning. I’ve got to tell you, campaigning recently in the referendum, a lot of these new members - we did not see that many of them out there, delivering leaflets and knocking on doors. There is academic research backing this up. Tim Bale, a politics professor at Queen Mary University of London, has carried out 2h ago 12:61 3h ago 12:61 “ “
  50. A family built around 
 good typography at paragraph level

    and rich hierarchies in a range of sizes
  51. text that sets to 
 be read fluently 

    even spacing
  52. text that sets to 
 be read fluently 

    even spacing
  53. text that sets to 
 be read fluently 

    even spacing
  54. text that sets to 
 be read fluently 

    even spacing
  55. types that are designed 
 for a range of sizes

    types designed for a range of sizes
  56. agency agency agency

  57. darnefs darnefs darnefs

  58. agency agency

  59. agency agency agency

  60. darnegs darnegs darnegs

  61. darnegs darnegs darnegs darnegs

  62. darnegs darnegs darnegs darnegs

  63. darnegs darnegs darnegs darnegs

  64. epilogue: new typeface design as a cultural statement

  65. thank you @gerryleonidas