Helvetica – It is what you make of it.
A typeface becomes a star, one that supposedly has no character, that is neutral, almost laissez-faire, and so ubiquitous as to be virtually invisible. An anachronism.
Is Helvetica anonymous and neutral, does it lack character? The exhibition proves the opposite. As shown in documents published here for the first time, Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann had the vision and determination to create a typeface as a design-product, whose composure and normality are more refreshing now than ever before and whose letterforms are of a pleasingly willful beauty.
Helvetica, as an aesthetic constant, mastered the quantum leap in 1957 from metal type to the digital age of wordprocessing. A fact that speaks for itself.
Helvetica is not perfect — but it is reliable, safe, practical, friendly, and extremely tidy. It was designed for everyday use and, in the world of typography, it has become synonymous with its own characteristics.
Whether it is used for image making, wordmarks, posters, advertisements, or books, Helvetica is a practical tool for designers. Its formal restraint gives them the freedom to visualize their ideas.
The best designers and graphic artists in the world have been using this typeface since the 1960s and with excellent results. Global corporations (Lufthansa, BASF, American Airlines, Knoll International) use it to communicate in every conceivable language; hairdressers and pizza shacks use it to create archaic signs. We recognize Helvetica’s success. It is a sensation of the ordinary and a metaphor for the normal.