Helvetica vs Arial

I was asked by Jessica and Kellie why I don't like Arial and I guess it is primarily a snobbery issue. The general reason is because it is Window's not as attractive knockoff version of the classic, my good friend, Helvetica. If you are not completely bored of typeface talk then you may understand a little more by reading these two articles. See excerpt here:


Despite its pervasiveness, a professional designer would rarely—at least for the moment—specify Arial. To professional designers, Arial is looked down on as a not-very-faithful imitation of a typeface that is no longer fashionable. It has what you might call a “low-end stigma.” The few cases that I have heard of where a designer has intentionally used Arial were because the client insisted on it. Why? The client wanted to be able to produce materials in-house that matched their corporate look and they already had Arial, because it’s included with Windows. True to its heritage, Arial gets chosen because it’s cheap, not because it’s a great typeface.

It’s been a very long time since I was actually a fan of Helvetica, but the fact is Helvetica became popular on its own merits. Arial owes its very existence to that success but is little more than a parasite—and it looks like it’s the kind that eventually destroys the host. I can almost hear young designers now saying, “Helvetica? That’s that font that looks kinda like Arial, right?”

"The Scourge of Arial"

"How to Spot Arial"

And to fully appreciate the culture and meaning behind Helvetica you should watch the Documentary. Maybe you will join the obsession

It can be found on YouTube even (although I have found the captioning to be unreliable, keeps calling typefaces actresses).