Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It's the Sans Serif smackdown

In the right corner: HELVETICA !!
Helvetica, which had its world premiere at the conference, presents the life story of something all of us encounter on a daily (or even hourly) basis. Created in 1957 by the Swiss modernist designer Max Miedinger as a response to the cluttered typography and design of the postwar era, Helvetica's clean neutrality and balanced use of the empty space surrounding letters quickly made it a go-to font for public signage, advertising, corporate logos and works of modernist design around the world


Filmmaker Gary Hustwitt revels in his fascination with something so commonplace that it blends almost entirely into a context-less background, becoming a detective of sorts to unveil the myriad everyday places Helvetica is hiding (“It's a disease,” Hustwitt said of his obsessive font-spotting).
In the left corner: COMIC SANS MS:

Earz: I found a weird website on typography, it was written in Italian I think, and had images of a gravestone lettered in comic sans. What does that say to you?

That would only be appropriate if the deceased were a clown or comedian, but other than that, I'd come back to haunt whoever did that if I were the dead guy.
Personally, I prefer Trebuchet MS.

p.s In the top corner, ARIAL:
It's been a very long time since I was actually a fan of Helvetica, but the fact is Helvetica became popular on its own merits. Arial owes its very existence to that success but is little more than a parasite—and it looks like it's the kind that eventually destroys the host. I can almost hear young designers now saying, "Helvetica? That's that font that looks kinda like Arial, right?"


  1. http://www.ms-studio.com/articles.html

  2. I guess that one lesson from this post is that the "geek phenomenon" is not just restricted to computer science, but in fact is a general cultural phenomenon.

    Will this argument help us attract more people to CS ? Hmm...


  3. That's right ;). "Bring us your smelly, your geek, your anti-socials" :)

  4. When it first came out Comic Sans seemed a breath of fresh air. It had some of the clarity of good hand-written slides. When I first saw someone using it I asked them more about their font than their talk! When I started using it, I got the same reaction.

    However, it has some really awful characters (M and N for example) and I got very tired of it. Now I find that I simply can't stand seeing it. Arial is OK but a bit ugly - certain lower case characters aren't wide enough and the spacing is quite irregular (see how hard it is to read when there are a bunch of i's and l's next to each other).

    Trebuchet MS, the font that Suresh is using here, is also my current favorite. The spacing is very even and I love those l's and g's!


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