Helvetica and Arial- two reasonably good san serif fonts that are often mistaken for one another. Here are a few hints to keeping them separate in your mind.

A little bit of history to begin with:

Helvetica was born in Switzerland in the 1950s. Created by the Haas Foundry, it was quickly adopted as the “new modern and clean” typeface of the corporate world.

More people have PCs than Macs and suddenly Arial is more popular than the “original” Helvetica.

Some other tips:

-The capital C in Helvetica has horizontal cusp ends. Arial’s are angled.

-The capital R in Helvetica has a curled leg. Arial has a straighter (though variable weight) leg.

-The lowercase t in Helvetica’s top is straight. Arial’s is trimmed at an angle.

-The number 1 in Helvetica has a flat underside to its “nose.” Arial is a simple stroke.

-The ampersand in Helvetica has a slightly taller end arm. Arial’s is a snip tighter.

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There is one comment for this post.

  1. Sean on September 25, 2008 5:20 am

    hmm… just to chuck a spanner in the works – I’m a fan of Gill Sans myself.


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