Rad Co

Jan 25, 2022

For the love of Arial: 3 reasons you should love microsoft’s version of Helvetica

I don’t like Arial.

Back in college, my professor spent an entire hour talking about why Arial is a mediocre typeface. He compared Arial to Helvetica and decimated Arial, all the inconsistencies and the why it was inferior to it’s Swiss counterpart.

He was right. Arial was terrible.

Arial is not Helvetica, It’s a cheaper version.

Arial being cheap (free) is a good thing.

It is said that since Arial was designed to the metric specs of Helvetica, essentially, you could switch from Arial to Helvetica and the words on your page won’t redraw. That’s amazing.

Arial was created because Microsoft didn’t want to pay licensing fees to Helvetica.

Arial is invisible

Millennials: Helveti-what? isn’t that Arial?

To the untrained eye, Arial looks just like Helvetica, Arial was designed to hide in plain sight. It has been the default font of Windows for 2 decades.

Arial is now more popular than Helvetica.

Pentagram used Arial and Times New Roman for a Branding Project

When I saw the execution, it blew my mind!

Design superstars, Pentagram unveiled its branding project for OfficeUS in back in 2014 and showed the world that you can use default fonts in a branding project.

Conclusion : Arial’s Power is in its ubiquity.

When you’re a billion-dollar company, every trivial decision can affect culture.

Their decision to make comission Arial and make it the default typeface will be a bane to Helvetica’s existence.

I still don’t like Arial, I still avoid it at all costs, but I can’t deny the existence of the font.

I respect its place in the design world. You should too.

Rad Co

I'm interested in the intersection of typography, identity design and psychology.

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