Attachment to Helvetica is not a bad thing. Some studies may even show that using Helvetica for an extended amount of time will make you a better human being. Yet Helvetica lovers continue to be mocked and ridiculed by all different types.
How passionate are you toward Helvetica? How well do you know Helvetica’s curves and intricacies? Well there’s finally an app to measure your devotion. It’s appropriately called Helvetica vs. Arial by Dalston Labs., London. It’s a game and it brilliantly tests your knowledge of the typeface by flashing words in both Arial and Helvetica and you have to pick the correct one to earn points. You can only guess incorrectly twice before the game is over. In addition, you are being timed and are awarded points based on how fast you can determine if the word is set in Helvetica or Arial. It’s safe to say this is the best gaming app out there. Angry Birds Space has nothing over this epic battle of rival typefaces. This game truly separates the hardcore Helveticans from the bandwagon hipsters. Best of all, it’s FREE.
Just to be clear, I don’t know the creators of this app, but I’m sure I’d like them if I ever met them. You don’t need to know English to play either. The key to success in this game is knowing letter forms. For example, Helvetica’s lower case “a” is distinctly different than Arial’s lower case “a”. The terminal on Helvetica’s “a” has some flair to it, while Arial’s is straight. Although this tip should help you while playing, the developers know this trick as well which is why you’ll notice that as you continue onto advanced levels, words with the lower case “a” are far and between.
Overall, it’s a very simple, yet fun game for type nerds. So if you have a smart phone (and statistically speaking, you probably do) download the free app and truly find out if you are Helvetica enough!
A couple posts ago, I told the tale of how Comic Sans ruined the Christmas of 2010 for me. Christmas 2011 told a different story. Maybe it’s because my sister saw my post and wanted to clear her name or just because Helvetica always prevails in the end. Either way, my sister totally redeemed herself this Christmas with this gem under the tree. (See image above.) I’ll be rocking this anti-comic sans tee into the new year! Best. Gift. Ever. (However, the potato ricer I got from Grams was about equally as good because I really needed that for mashed potatoes.)
Since we are on the topic of Comic Sans, has anyone seen the Comic Sans Project? I hesitated posting a link to it because I really don’t want this web page to get any hits. However, it’s one of those things in life you should experience so you know what not to do in the future. Basically, the purpose of this website is to Comic Sans-ify popular logos. Why would one or more people waste their time doing this beats me. Like one of my design professors told me years ago, “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should”.
Although the site is hideous and makes me want to physically clean my computer screen, it is a good example of how Comic Sans degrades professionalism.
Take this NASA logo for example. This logo went from a symbol of prestige and strength to looking like a 5th grade science club drawing in Microsoft Paint. I feel like the people involved in this project are all former tow company employees, who just get off on ruining people’s days whether it’s towing parked cars away for $200+ fines or redesigning logos in Comic Sans. Here’s their mission statement:
We are the Comic Sans defenders. We fear no fonts and we will make the whole world Comic Sans. Because Helvetica is sooo 2011.
Hmmmm… Not a fan. But as the saying goes, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. You can keep tabs on their antics on Twitter @comicsansprjct.
…they would have quite the personalities. Ain’t no party like a typeface party! Let’s get familiar with the faces, shall we.
There’s Impact, the guy that’s always talking about the gym. “I just came back from the gym.” “Yeah, I was working out today”. “Did you see me at the gym?” “I was there… working out.” “I usually start my workouts with about 10 minutes of kerning.”
Then there’s Eurostile, the guy that wears shiny club shirts and hooks up sluts like Eccentric Std and Curlz.
Cracked acts inconspicuously, alone in the corner doing… well, I think that’s pretty obvious.
Then there’s the teacher klan, Century Schoolbook, Chalkboard, Marker Felt, and SchoolHouse that stick together like Elmer’s non-toxic glue.
Century Gothic, the hipster with the Ray-Bans, flannel button shirts, and really into indie music.
Futura, the cool one driving a 2011 Hyundai Sonata.
We can’t forget about Zapfino, the pompous, rich bitch that hangs out with the “sophisticated” crowd and sends out the invitations to their balls and dances.
Uncle Bob, who seems nice at first, but after being with him for 5 minutes you feel a little creeped out and reach for your wallet to make sure it’s still there.
Wingdings and her half brother Dingbats, who both only get invited to parties because font families feel sorry for them. And honesty, who doesn’t like a mailbox when their drunk!?
Times New Roman, the one whom people always say “You remind me of someone”. He just has one of those faces.
Stay away from Hobo Std. or you’ll catch something that will itch.
Gill Sans is a friendly chap.
Georgia is a sweet southern gal. However, don’t drop Bodoni’s name around her or she’ll get bold!
Caslon’s bff’s with Bodoni.
Bank Gothic wears too much eyeliner. But if you’re into that kind of thing you may have found your match 🙂
Comic Sans has no friends.
Blackmoor LET likes to slay dragons with it’s descenders. Time to take off the cloak. It’s practically 2011 A.D.
Arial is a big time poser. So typical of a Microsoft font. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Arial put ketchup on a hotdog.
Oh yeah, Optima. This one tries to please everyone. Should be in politics. Oh that’s right, that already happened. (Side note: Optima was John McCain’s official presidential campaign typeface. Guess he was the wrong type. Pun.)
Verdana is very flexible. She’s there whenever you need her.
Playbill is a big time drama queen. Makes me want to punch her in her fat, slabby serifs.
Despite their diversity, the Lucidas stick together. Rule of thumb here is if you see a Lucida, figure there are another couple of family members nearby.
The Palatino family is great. Elegant and sophisticated. A pleasure.
Last, but certainly not least, there’s Helvetica. The most popular one at the party. Helvetica transcends time and popularity. One night Hel’s sippin’ bubbly with Baskerville in a NYC penthouse, the next day Hel’s leading the way, working hands on with subscripts making them super. Helvetica is accessible to everyone and is open and true.
However, Helvetica’s niece Helvetica Neue UltraLight realizes her good looks. And let me tell ya, no one can pull off skinny jeans like UltaLight can. No one.