"Helvetica Now" - "Monotype redesigns Helvetica for the digital age"

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  • Nick Shinn
    Nick Shinn Posts: 2,169
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    “Next” is the neue “New” now.

    LOL. I’m rather partial to “Nova”. (Thanks to Mark Simonson for introducing that designation, if I’m not mistaken.)
  • George Thomas
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    Years ago there was Century Nova.
  • Nick Shinn
    Nick Shinn Posts: 2,169
    edited April 2019
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    Century Nova is precisely where I got the idea.
    You’re quite sure it wasn’t the Chevvy?
  • Mark Simonson
    Mark Simonson Posts: 1,687
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    I had one of those (a '65), but no. :-)
  • John Savard
    John Savard Posts: 1,104
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    While "Helvetica Nova" sounds modern and trendy, one could go for a more classical feel and still use "Nova".

    Nova Helvetica! If only the Swiss had founded a colony in the New World...
  • You guys are so cheesy.
  • Chris Lozos
    Chris Lozos Posts: 1,458
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    Your, "Helveetica" Hrant?
  • Evie S.
    Evie S. Posts: 74
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    Late to the discussion, but I took a look at the typeface and the micro style is fascinating. The terminals are angled, the signature complex bowl of the /a has been straightened, and inktraps have been added. I personally think the Micro almost looks like a different typeface entirely. Here's some samples, contextualized and direct comparison.
  • Evie S.
    Evie S. Posts: 74
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    This is a bit of sensory overload to me, but maybe you all can get more out of this than I can. Now looks quite boxy, where Grotesk looks round. Both Haas and Now look (in my opinion) different from both Helvetica and Helvetica Neue, especially Helvetica.
  • Evie S.
    Evie S. Posts: 74
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    It reminded me of Azkidenz, though not for that reason. Can't really pin down why the Micro feels that way, though
  • John Savard
    John Savard Posts: 1,104
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    To me, the Micro is certainly wider, but it still looks like the same style of typeface.
  • Mark Simonson
    Mark Simonson Posts: 1,687
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    The earlier PostScript and TrueType releases of Helvetica were based on Linotype's version, which was designed mainly for text setting. The original Haas Helvetica display cut was missing from the PS/TT world until the recent Haas New Grotesk release. (Unless you count URW's unauthorized Nimbus Sans D, but that was only the Bold weight.)
  • Christian Thalmann
    Christian Thalmann Posts: 1,965
    edited April 2019
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    At the danger of outing myself as a troglodyte: All these Helveticas and Haases look the same to me (apart from the Display and Micro). I can spot individual deviations (Haas /c/ is rounder?) but I’m not getting the impression of distinct typefaces overall. There’s way more variation in Garamonds, for instance. 


    Akzidenz, on the other hand, is a mess. Coarse curves, unexpected stroke thickness variations within glyph, and uneven color... not sure why it’s still popular, other than nostalgia.
  • John Savard
    John Savard Posts: 1,104
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    Akzidenz, on the other hand, is a mess. Coarse curves, unexpected stroke thickness variations within glyph, and uneven color... not sure why it’s still popular, other than nostalgia.
    I was just looking at a specimen of Akzidenz Grotesk last night.

    At least in the bold weight, I thought it looked lively, and it could still be used in an advertisement to convey a certain positive feeling about the advertiser. But that doesn't mean nostalgia, or name recognition, doesn't play a role. There are a lot of other very good typefaces out there that never get used.
  • Christian Thalmann
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    (I hadn’t looked at a specimen, to be fair; my impression is based on the above 24 pt screenshot.)
  • John Savard
    John Savard Posts: 1,104
    edited April 2019
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    (I hadn’t looked at a specimen, to be fair; my impression is based on the above 24 pt screenshot.)

    Well, the specimen I looked at was of a modern cutting called Standard. Although the image in the thread was from a 1954 specimen, it looked to me like the 19th-century grotesques from which Akzidenz Grotesk is claimed to be derived, so my impression of that sample is the same as yours.

    I was looking at something like this.
  • Chris Lozos
    Chris Lozos Posts: 1,458
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    "Standard" was the ATF cut, was it not?  We used to call AG Standard in the US for many of those years [50s-60s]
  • Mark Simonson
    Mark Simonson Posts: 1,687
    edited April 2019
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    Standard was just what Berthold called it for the U.S. market. I don't think ATF was involved.
  • Dan Reynolds
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    Standard was just what Berthold called it for the U.S. market. I don't think ATF was involved.
    Right. AG was sold in the US by Continental Typefounders, who had a deal with Berthold over in Europe to do this, and the typeface was marketed as Standard. At least, that is how I remember the gist of it. The details are written up pretty well in Paul Shaw’s book about Helvetica and the New York Subway System.

    I think that ATF always viewed Continental as a competitor, not an ally or business partner, but I have hardly looked into ATF’s history.
  • Scott-Martin Kosofsky
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    Mark and Dan are more or less correct. “Standard” was simply the name given to Berthold’s Akzidenz Grotesk by its U.S. importer, Amsterdam Continental, which was one of only two major type importers. (The other was Bauer Alphabets, a subsidiary of the Bauersche Giesserei, of Frankfurt, and later, at the end of its activity, of the Barcelona firm Fundición Tipográfica Neufville.) Amsterdam Continental was a sales and marketing subsidiary of Lettergieterij Amsterdam, a division of N. Tetterode, and was not a foundry, per se.

  • K Pease
    K Pease Posts: 182
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    When I see the slightly angled terminals in the text sizes I think "This is Arial now."
  • Arial does some things better than Helv. Like the "R" (although Unica's is actually Good).
  • Eben Sorkin
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    Helvetica Now reminds me rather a lot of Halyard at Darden Studio. The pattern of three optical sizes for example. And what they are called. But I am clearly biased in this case.