Thursday, February 05, 2009

Font Problem Solved: Helvetica Bad

I believe I have the answer to my font problem. The offending typeface is the beloved Helvetica. Although Helvetica (a print typeface, mind you) looks good on Macs, it's all fucked up on Windows. Trevor Davis makes the comparison and provides a demo page of Helvetica sizes. You might not have this problem if you're using Windows and don't have the font installed. If you do and you have, it should look really freaky.

The typeface Arial complicates matters. Arial is derivative of Helvetica, and is the recipient of such scorn that some call for deferring to Helvetica before Arial in designing web pages. This approach is a problem. Although Arial has moral baggage, it looks good on a Windows screen. Helvetica looks like a mistake.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was going nuts trying to figure out why some Web and email text looked trashed. I installed Helvetica a couple of months ago because a graphic designer I hired (who uses a Mac) had used it in some PhotoShop files that I needed to manipulate. After your blog, I uninstalled those fonts and things are now back to normal. I'm glad it was something so simple. And I'm going to tell the artist to please not use Helvetica again in files that he'll send to me. Thanks again!