There is a case (get it) to be made that Helvetica is the most used font in the world. It is a standard font in Microsoft and most other desktop publishing software. It is used extensively on signs and billboards, in business correspondence and marketing materials, and just about any medium where words are printed. FontShop and many other type houses rate Helvetica as the #1 font of all time.

But why?

Helvetica as we know it has only been around since the 1960s. It was originally developed in 1957 by Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann and named Neue Haas Grotesk at the time, to compete with some popular Swiss font named Akzidenz-Grotesk. The name was changed to Helvetica in 1960. In 1983 it was updated as Helvetica Neue. That is the version I prefer to use. In 2007, there was apparently a big to-do 50th Anniversary celebration for Helvetica with contests for the best use of the font and even a feature documentary released that year. That’s not normal for a font.

I don’t know why.

But I can tell you why I like Helvetica. It’s clean, the ascenders and descender and cross marks and line weights and character widths are all regular, with little or no variation. And it’s complete. There is every imaginable subset, from regular to condensed to compressed to extended, and style, including light, book, medium, bold, heavy, black and extra black. It may not have the subtleties or roundness of some other sans serif fonts, but t’s a durable, universally recognized font that can be used with a light touch or for an in your face headline.

So, use it, even if it’s just for the Hel(vetica) of it.

My Playlist 30212

This list is inspired by the soundtrack for Seven Psychopaths, a movie I wouldn’t recommend. But songs I had to hear again. Three of these tracks are from the soundtrack, the rest take their cue from the atmosphere created by those songs.

Song Time Artist Album
Stranded 4:24 The Walkmen Lisbon
Underneath the Bunker 1:28 R.E.M. Life’s Rich Pageant
The Flowers of Guatemala 3:57 R.E.M. Life’s Rich Pageant
Help help 3;35 Pearl Jam Riot Act
Morning Star 4:30 Rick Wakeman & Jon Anderson The Living Tree
Police Station 5:36 Red Hot Chili Peppers I’m With You
In the Way 3:36 Tift Merritt Traveling Alone
Little Things 4:51 Los Lobos The Town and the City
Currents 6:03 Marc Ford Weary & Wired
Wiser Time 9:34 The Black Crowes Croweology
Face in the Crowd 4:25 Joseph Arthur The Graduation Ceremony
Still Cold 4:48 Mazzy Star Among My Swan
Learn to Love 4:21 NEEDTOBREATHE The Reckoning
Love is Here 4:03 Tenth Avenue North Over and Underneath
Angelsea 4:30 Cat Stevens Catch Bull at Four
Different Drum 2:38 The Stone Poneys Evergreen Vol. 2
Dirty Dishes 3:19 Deer Tick War Elephant
17 Songs/1.2 Hours


I Want

I want to be something more.
I want to face the day on a different shore.
I want everybody to know what I am.
I want to be a better man.

I want to break out!
Show the world what I’m about.
I want to break out!
And drown my inner doubt.

I want to have confidence, self control.
I want to go national.
I want to learn to use my gifts.
I want to give myself a lift.

But in me the spotlight turns within.
Now inner peace is where renown begins.
And like an ocean sculpting the eternal sands of time,
I must create myself with the perfect line.

And break out!
Show the world what I’m about.
Break out!
And some day drown this inner doubt.

© 2013 Wasted Space Publishing