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What’s the Point in Hating Helvetica?

The first blog post I wrote for this website was a listicle thing called “5 Typefaces Designers Hate“. What was interesting to me, was that most of the comments thought that Helvetica, a typeface I did not include, deserved to be on the list. I disagree.

The thing people tend to hate about Helvetica is that it’s ‘overused’, or that it’s, for lack of a better word, boring. Erik Spiekermann said about it: “It’s air, you know. It’s just there. There’s no choice. You have to breathe, so you have to use Helvetica.” Sure, it may be everywhere, but why is that a bad thing? The way I see it, the more ubiquitous and boring Helvetica is, the better.

Helvetica is a modernist typeface. The purpose of the modernist movement, especially when it came to graphic design, was to create something objective and universal. So to me, all the things that people dislike about Helvetica, are actually just Helvetica fulfilling its purpose. I would even go so far as to say that it is perhaps the most successful form of modernism, ever. So I ask you: what is the point in hating Helvetica?

One Comment

  1. zpalmer2 wrote:

    I agree with your take on this, Helvetica fulfills its intention amazingly. It is used so often because it is so successful, that should not be a reason to dislike it.

    Sunday, April 29, 2018 at 12:28 pm | Permalink