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NEW TYPE, NEWS, TYPE DESIGN · April 2, 2012

Neue Haas Grotesk Now Available from Font Bureau

You may be wondering, ‘why Neue Haas Grotesk when we have Helvetica?’ To offer the best reason, and the one that’s the most interesting, we have to go back quite a few decades, to Switzerland.

Neue Haas Grotesk was the original name given to the typeface that Max Miedinger drew in the 1950s for Haas’sche Schriftgiesserei (Haas Typefoundry) in Switzerland under the direction of Eduard Hoffmann. It was designed to compete with the German-designed Akzidenz Grotesk and others. Shortly after release from Haas, the name was changed at the request of parent company Stempel to “Helvetica” (Latin for “the Swiss”) in order to compete better in a global market. Through the years, Miedinger’s design has suffered many compromises, mostly due to technological shifts.

“I’ve come to think that Helvetica was never intended to be the cold, perfect, rational typeface people portray it as. There is a subtle warmth in the shapes that was lost over the years.” Christian Schwartz reflected. He went back to early sources and original specimens to try to undo these compromises and restore much of the original personality as authentically as possible.

What we have today in the newly restored Neue Haas Grotesk is a digital typeface attuned to its intended design and finally tuned to the needs of designers. The detailed story continues on our minisite, where you can see how Neue Haas Grotesk reclaims what Helvetica has lost.


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