The Helvetica Font Has Been Revamped for the First Time in Decades

Monotype
Monotype

The Helvetica font family is everywhere. It’s used on everything from subway signage to federal tax forms to advertisements for a diverse group of companies, including Harley-Davidson, Oral-B, and Target. Job seekers are also likely familiar with its clean, sans-serif characters, which make it one of the best fonts for a resume.

“If it's me, [I’m using] Helvetica,” Matt Luckhurst, a graphic designer, told Bloomberg in 2015. “Helvetica is beautiful. There is only one Helvetica.”

Until now. As Wired reports, the typeface has just been revamped for the first time in decades by Monotype, which boasts the world’s largest type library and owns the rights to Helvetica. The new and improved version, called Helvetica Now, aims to better serve modern users while also working out the kinks associated with the old design.

The new Helvetica font
Monotype

While Helvetica is still ubiquitous, several major companies—including Google, Apple, IBM, and Netflix—have dropped the typeface for branding purposes in recent years. Issues related to kerning, punctuation sizes, and scrunched characters are all common gripes with the old version.

By contrast, Helvetica Now comes in three versions to suit different needs. There’s a Micro version for small screens, a Display version for larger type sizes, and a Text version that makes use of white space to offset visually “demanding” designs. Companies will need to buy the license to the new Helvetica, but the font’s creators are hopeful that everyone will be making the switch in due time.

“Helvetica Now is the tummy-tuck, facelift, and lip filler we’ve been wanting, but were too afraid to ask for,” graphic designer Abbott Miller, a partner at design consultancy Pentagram, said in a statement. “It offers beautifully drawn alternates to some of Helvetica’s most awkward moments, giving it a surprisingly, thrillingly contemporary character.”

The original Helvetica was invented in 1957 by two Swiss designers who dubbed their typeface Neue Haas Grotesk. It wasn’t until 1961 that the typeface was renamed Helvetica, and the font’s last major facelift came in 1982 with the release of the desktop-friendly Neue Helvetica.

Of course, that was pre-internet, and Monotype’s director, Charles Nix, says everyone's font needs have changed a great deal in the intervening decades. “Neue Helvetica was the first digitization of Helvetica,” Nix said. “That was a long time ago, and so much has happened in our world since then.”

[h/t Wired]

The New iPhone 11 Is Triggering People With Trypophobia

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

People with trypophobia, or a fear of clusters of small holes, know which triggers to avoid. Soap bubbles, lotus seed pods, and the insides of cantaloupes can all induce panic and revulsion in people who are sensitive to the pattern. Now, they have a new item to add to their list. As Gizmodo points out, the new iPhone has a design feature that's turning off trypophobes.

Apple debuted the iPhone 11 at an event on September 10 ahead of its release on September 20. This latest model comes with many upgrades, including a super-powered processor and longer battery life, but the biggest change has been met with a mixed reception.

The iPhone 11 Pro has three camera lenses where there would normally be one. People who prefer Apple's sleek, minimalist style have criticized the design, while those with trypophobia have had even stronger reactions. Some scientists think the fear of clusters of holes originally developed as a survival mechanism to steer people away from infectious diseases. When someone gets nauseous at the sight of three cameras grouped on the back of a smart phone, it's because it reminds them of decaying flesh.

Presentation launching iPhone 11.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The iPhone likely looks the way it does today thanks to another highly specific fear that afflicted Steve Jobs. The Apple founder suffered from koumpounophobia, or a fear of buttons—an incredibly rare phobia that's only been documented once in all of psychiatric literature. His fear may have lead to the popularization of the smooth, buttonless touch screen. It also explains why the tech giant preferred black turtlenecks to button-down shirts.

Though similar to trypophobia, a fear of buttons and fear of clusters of circles aren't quite the same thing. So while triggering to many, the updated iPhone doesn't necessarily conflict with Jobs's original design aesthetic.

[h/t Gizmodo]

The Reason Why Ships Are Often Painted Red on the Bottom

75tiks/iStock via Getty Images
75tiks/iStock via Getty Images

If you’ve ever salvaged a sea vessel, you might have noticed that ship hulls are often red. If you haven’t dealt with a shipwreck—and chances are you haven’t—you may have still seen a red hull in pictures or in partial view at a shipyard. Since that portion of the ship is below the waterline, it seems strange to opt for a specific color.

The reason is tradition. And worms.

In a piece for Jalopnik, Andrew P. Collins explains that early sailing ships protected themselves against barnacles and wood-eating worms by covering their hulls in a copper or copper oxide paint that acted as a biocide. The copper gave the paint a red tint. By reducing the muck that naturally collects on the hull, ships can maintain their structural integrity and avoid being weighed down by gunk like seaweed that would reduce drag.

These days, biocides can be mixed with virtually any color of paint. But the hulls are often painted red to maintain a nautical tradition. Collins also points out that the red may help observers gauge the load of a ship’s cargo. The more weight on board, the lower in the water it will be. That's why you often see numbers positioned vertically on the side of the hull.

No matter what’s covering the hull, it’s never going to completely eliminate growth. Often, ports will prohibit ship owners from scraping hulls while docked, since ships traveling in outside waters might have picked up a non-native species of weed that could prove problematic in a new environment.

[h/t Jalopnik]

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