Helvetica – World’s Most Popular Font

Created in the 1950's by Swiss typographer Max Miedinger, Helvetica now has a worldwide presence and is somewhat of a VIP of fonts. Helvetica is named after the Latin name for Switzerland and is popular among designers for its clean, bold and modern look.

Being quite the typography geek, I wanted to share some popular examples featuring the Helvetica font:


“It's durable. It comes from natural design forms. It doesn’t have an expression of fashion. It has very clear lines and characters, it looks like a very serious typeface,” says Frank Wildenberg, managing director of Linotype, the German firm that owns the font.


The signage for the New York City subway system is entirely using the Helvetica type:

Helvetica Type New York City Subway SystemIt is a long story, but MTA chose Helvetica in the first place as a way of unifying their different train operations which were using several different fonts at the time.

Additionally, Helvetica served as the perfect choice for their signage concept, as its properties supported the aim to create signs that could be quickly read and easily understood by riders.


Look around you and you will find lots of examples of where the simplicity of the Helvetica font has been used to facilitate people's lives:

Helvetica Typography in Everyday Life


Many companies have picked the Helvetica font for its sleekness and timelessness, and as a way to convey their brand message:

Helvetica Brand Logo Collage


Here is a cool poster which totally proves a point:

Helvetica Type Poster by rodoabad


The font used in the poster for the popular TV series MAD MEN is close to Helvetica Neue Heavy:

Helvetica - Mad Men Poster


Swiss Typography Maps by Ursula Hitz

Inspired by swissmiss, an adorable Helvetica onesie for your baby:

Helvetica Type Onesie


But the devil is in the detail: There is actually quite a difference between the Helvetica and the Arial font...

Arial vs Helvetica Font - Spot the DifferenceCheck out this helpful design guide to learn how to spot the difference!


So, do you think you can tell Helvetica and Arial apart? Take the quiz to find out!

Arial vs Helvetica Quiz


More Information

- Download the Helvetica font from Linotype
- Buy the most popular Helvetica books on Amazon

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Dimitri Burkhard

Founder, Editor-in-Chief at Newly Swissed GmbH
As the founder, editor and community manager of Newly Swissed, Dimitri owns the strategic vision. He is passionate about storytelling and is a member of the Swiss Travelwriters Club.

Dimitri loves discovering new trends and covers architecture, design, start-ups and tourism.
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  1. […] the Swiss design the country is famous for. Expect photography used in conjunction with typography. Helvetica and Univers are the typefaces of choice, with the typography expertly kerned and arranged […]

  2. […] students use Times New Roman for their assignments, but it’s not uncommon to use a font like Helvetica (the default in the program Pages) or Georgia, or even Cambria. But now, let’s expand a little. […]

  3. […] typeface Helvetica was created in Switzerland, which might be surprising unless you knew that "Confoederatio Helvetia" […]

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