[essay] Preparing for Leopard: Helvetica is Dead.

Alessandro Segalini's picture

Preparing for Leopard: Helvetica is Dead.
by Craig Swanson

For years, print-based graphic designers and prepress professionals have fought to replace certain Mac OS X default fonts with their existing PostScript Type 1 fonts of the same name — Helvetica being a primary example.

k.l.'s picture

Very nice! I particularly like this one:

Yes. You need to buy a font!
We know this solution goes against a long-standing tradition of graphic designers not buying their fonts. In an online survey last year, half the designers responding admitted they had purchased almost none of their fonts. With only 6% saying they had purchased all their fonts.

Florian Hardwig's picture

Yeah, but the basic statement is kinda wrong.
Why should everyone (that is, every OS X user) have to buy a new Helvetica Neue?
The version of Helvetica Neue that ships with OS X is a TrueType version from Linotype. Apple only repackaged it as a .dfont.

And why this arbitrary differentiation of ‘creative fonts’ and ‘system fonts’? As if the latter was in some dubious extra file format that cannot/may not be used for screen or print design…

Why should I have to licence it from Linotype (or Adobe, being a reseller – no?) again? That was paid with the OS X license.

Those who need to work with several versions of Helvetica (Neue) and are afraid of a jumble, they need a proper font management. But then, who doesn’t, anyway?

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

I'm sorry I don't see why I have to purchase Linotype Helvetica fonts for "creative" activities when the .dfont iteration seems to do the trick just fine. Is there something I'm not getting? Is there a quality difference? The only case I see the .dfont might cause problems if you purchase additional weights not included on your systems and it cause problems... but again I still don't see the point.

Mikey :-)

blank's picture

The only case I see the .dfont might cause problems if you purchase additional weights not included on your systems and it cause problems... but again I still don’t see the point.

Keep in mind that Helvetica is a very popular font. Firms that do a lot of big corporate work may be expected to work with all the various weights of Helvetica and Helvetica Neue to keep clients happy.

danielwilber's picture

Was this guy paid by Adobe?

Stephen Coles's picture

On the omission of Linotype as a Helvetica source: It's interesting how many creatives and printers still view early digital pioneers like Adobe and Emigre as the only sources for professional type. It's a mindset that is particularly prevalent in print shops throughout the U.S.

Si_Daniels's picture

>On the omission of Linotype as a Helvetica source

The film helps address this myth, but as I recall it takes it to an extreme with Apple getting credit for the ongoing popularity of Helvetica, with no mention (?) of Adobe and PostScript.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

This just in (via a link on Design Observer):

Macworld: Creative Notes: Helvetica and Leopard

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