336. Helvetica’s Use

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.)

Helvetica’s character forms are not distinct enough, the shapes are pushed toward the outside of the space they hold, which makes them oddly squat, and the leading (fixable) and counter spaces (unfixable) are too tight in automated templates where the point size is small. These problems start getting reduced only as the words get into heading and display sizes — around 16 points or so. But, then use it for headings and not for text; and feel free to use all caps here. That’s where Helvetica can shine.