Arial vs Helvetica

Hard core designers know the controvery of Arial vs Helvetica. For those who dont, I found this wonderful article at Mark Simpson’s blog. Read the full article here
 

Arial

 

helvetica

  “When Microsoft made TrueType the standard font format for Windows 3.1, they opted to go with Arial rather than Helvetica, probably because it was cheaper and they knew most people wouldn’t know (or even care about) the difference. Apple also standardized on TrueType at the same time, but went with Helvetica, not Arial, and paid Linotype’s license fee. Of course, Windows 3.1 was a big hit. Thus, Arial is now everywhere, a side effect of Windows’ success, born out of the desire to avoid paying license fees.
Despite its pervasiveness, a professional designer would rarely—at least for the moment—specify Arial. To professional designers, Arial is looked down on as a not-very-faithful imitation of a typeface that is no longer fashionable. It has what you might call a “low-end stigma.” The few cases that I have heard of where a designer has intentionally used Arial were because the client insisted on it. Why? The client wanted to be able to produce materials in-house that matched their corporate look and they already had Arial, because it’s included with Windows. True to its heritage, Arial gets chosen because it’s cheap, not because it’s a great typeface.”

5 thoughts on “Arial vs Helvetica

  1. Since there is so much of Helvetica cool/ Arial trashing, it’s only natural for the new designer to form a low opinion about Arial pretty soon. That’s all good as long as it’s been formed with reason and not just based upon the fact that everybody bashes Arial all the time.

    I love Helvetica. But calling Arial a rip off means there’s a hundred other popular typefaces that should come under the same category as well.

    So here’s one of the fewer articles offering a very fair comparison of Helvetica vs. Arial, only a lot more neutral: http://ilovetypography.com/2007/10/06/arial-versus-helvetica/

    Hope this helps.

  2. dummy says:

    The few cases that I have heard of where a designer has intentionally used Arial were because the client insisted on it. Why? The client wanted to be able to produce materials in-house that matched their corporate look and they already had Arial, because it’s included with Windows. True to its heritage, Arial gets chosen because it’s cheap, not because it’s a great typeface.

  3. Susheel says:

    Now I know why I innately shy away from arial and towards helvetica. It’s just that much classier… @tropicaltype: I didn’t know much about arial bashing, but now i’m going to go at it full swing…it’s not that there are so many more fonts that are copies or rip offs, its that these two fonts are possibly the most widely used (apart from times {new} roman).

  4. Andrew Nielsen says:

    I prefer Arial because it looks less uptight. Besides, all the Arial haters, if Arial is such a close rip off, how come it looks so much worse? Your answer might be that they only changed a few things. Well, those things were important and change how the font looks.

  5. Andrew Nielsen says:

    And, dummy, you can apparently get Helvetica for $45, so if its so much better, people could easily afford it.

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