Where Helvetica Shines

by jfjudah

If you must use the Helvetica typeface, don’t use it in paragraphs; that’s not what it was created for. (And don’t even mention the pariah, Arial.)

The problems with Helvetica are that its character forms are not distinct enough from each other, the shapes are pushed toward the outside of the space they hold (which makes them oddly squat and claustrophobic), and the leading (fixable) and counter spaces (unfixable) are too tight in automated templates where the point size is small. These problems start getting corrected only as the words get into heading and display sizes — around 16 points or so.

So use it for headings then and not for paragraphs. And feel free to use all caps here — that’s where Helvetica can shine.

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