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What is the Helvetica® font?

This typeface was initially released as Neue Haas Grotesk, and was designed in 1957 by Max Miedinger for the Haas’sche Schriftgiesserei (Haas Type Foundry) in Switzerland.

The name was changed to Helvetica (an adaptation of Helvetia, the Latin name for Switzerland) by Walter Cunz when D. Stempel AG, a major stockholder in Haas, reworked the design for Linotype GmbH in Frankfurt, a major stockholder in Stempel. The Mergenthaler Linotype Company in New York, then a major stockholder of Linotype GmbH, adopted the design, and it rapidly became the most popular sanserif in the world, replacing Futura.

Helvetica is designed as a strong central series, with condensed and extended forms and extreme weights adapted and added later, a system which suited Linotype mechanical limitations and marketing philosophy, but which resulted in a family of weights that were not as well coordinated as they might have been.
Linotype’s limited licensing forced a large number of unauthorized copies of Helvetica, none of which may be viewed as an improvement.


Helvetica® Font families

The Helvetica® includes the following font families:

  • Helvetica Light
  • Helvetica Light Oblique
  • Helvetica Regular
  • Helvetica Oblique
  • Helvetica Bold
  • Helvetica Bold Oblique
  • Helvetica Black
  • Helvetica Black Oblique
  • Helvetica Light Condensed
  • Helvetica Light Condensed Oblique
  • Helvetica Condensed
  • Helvetica Condensed Oblique
  • Helvetica Bold Condensed
  • Helvetica Bold Condensed Oblique
  • Helvetica Black Condensed
  • Helvetica Black Condensed Oblique
  • Helvetica Compressed
  • Helvetica Extra Compressed
  • Helvetica Ultra Compressed
  • Helvetica Inserat Roman
  • Helvetica Narrow Roman
  • Helvetica Narrow Oblique
  • Helvetica Narrow Bold
  • Helvetica Narrow Bold Oblique
  • Helvetica Rounded Bold
  • Helvetica Rounded Bold Oblique
  • Helvetica Rounded Black
  • Helvetica Rounded Black Oblique
  • Helvetica Rounded Bold Condensed
  • Helvetica Rounded Bold Condensed Oblique
  • Helvetica Textbook Roman
  • Helvetica Textbook Oblique
  • Helvetica Textbook Bold
  • Helvetica Textbook Bold Oblique


Helvetica® Preview

Here is a preview of how Helvetica® will look. For more previews using your own text as an example, click here.

Similar Fonts To Helvetica

Here are some fonts that are similar in style and character to Helvetica:

  1. Arial: Known as the Helvetica of Microsoft, Arial shares many similarities with Helvetica. The differences are subtle, making it a close match.
  2. Univers: Designed by Adrian Frutiger, it’s often compared to Helvetica due to its clean and modern character forms.
  3. Swiss 721: This Bitstream typeface is a Helvetica clone, designed as a generic sans-serif for software applications.
  4. Nimbus Sans L: Created by URW++, Nimbus Sans L is considered a convincing alternative to Helvetica.
  5. Trebuchet MS: This is a humanist sans-serif font with a design quite similar to Helvetica, although with some distinct features.
  6. Verdana: Although it’s more optimized for screen reading with larger x-height, Verdana can sometimes serve as a Helvetica substitute.
  7. TeX Gyre Heros: An open-source font based on Nimbus Sans L (itself a Helvetica clone), it covers a wider range of Unicode characters.
  8. San Francisco: Apple’s San Francisco typeface shares some similarities with Helvetica and was actually introduced as a replacement for Helvetica Neue on Apple systems.

Also check out the following fonts:




Sofia Pro

TT Norms



Helvetica Font Frequently Asked Questions

Is Helvetica a free font?

No. Helvetica is not a free font.

Helvetica is owned by Monotype Imaging, which holds the rights to the font. Therefore, to use Helvetica legally, especially for commercial purposes, you typically need to purchase a license from a vendor like MyFonts, or through other font reselling platforms that offer the typeface.

Always ensure you have the correct licensing rights for a font before using it, particularly for commercial purposes. Licensing terms can change over time, so it’s important to verify this information from a reliable source at the time of use.


Is Helvetica a System Font?

Yes, Helvetica is included as a system font on many platforms, notably on macOS and iOS devices. This means that if you’re using a Mac computer or an iPhone, you likely have access to Helvetica already installed on your system.

However, on Windows systems, Helvetica is not included by default. Instead, Microsoft provides Arial, a typeface that is quite similar in appearance, as a default system font. It’s important to note that while Arial is similar to Helvetica, they are not identical and have some distinct design differences.

To use Helvetica on a system where it’s not pre-installed, you would generally need to purchase a license and install the font.


Is Helvetica a web safe font?


While Helvetica is a widely used and popular typeface, it’s not considered a “web safe” font. The concept of web safe fonts refers to the fonts that are universally available across all systems, and Helvetica, while pre-installed on macOS and iOS systems, is not a default font on Windows or Android platforms.

On these systems, the closest available equivalent is Arial, which shares many visual similarities with Helvetica but is not identical. So, while Helvetica can be used on the web, it’s not guaranteed to display the same on all devices unless it’s delivered as a web font via CSS.

Therefore, for universal consistency in typography across all platforms, web designers often use ‘fallback’ fonts in their CSS code, which are displayed in the event Helvetica is not available on the user’s system.


What famous Logos have used Helvetica Font?

Helvetica is a popular choice among designers for its clean, neutral, and professional appeal. It has been used in many iconic logos. Here are some notable examples:

  1. American Airlines: The airline’s logo uses Helvetica Neue Bold. The “AA” logo is simple and instantly recognizable, mainly due to its Helvetica styling.
  2. Toyota: The Japanese automotive manufacturer uses Helvetica in its logo. The distinct lettering of Helvetica complements the emblem to create a memorable brand identity.
  3. BMW: The acronym for Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, which stands for Bavarian Motor Works, is rendered in Helvetica in the company’s logo.
  4. Jeep: The car manufacturer uses Helvetica Bold in its logo. The clear and bold typeface aligns with the rugged and reliable image of the brand.
  5. Nestlé: The Swiss food and drink processing conglomerate uses Helvetica Bold in its wordmark.
  6. Panasonic: The electronics corporation uses Helvetica in its logo. The uniformity of Helvetica complements the brand’s ethos of precision and quality.
  7. 3M: The multinational conglomerate corporation uses Helvetica in its logo, making the most of the font’s straightforward and clean aesthetic.

While these companies have used Helvetica in their logos, some may have custom modifications to the letters, creating a unique yet familiar look.


What is the closest font to Helvetica?

The closest font to Helvetica is arguably Arial. Arial was created by Monotype in 1982 and is often considered the “Microsoft version” of Helvetica. While the two typefaces are very similar, there are subtle design differences.

For example, Arial has a few more rounded shapes and the terminal ends (the finishing strokes of a letter) on some lowercase letters such as ‘a’, ‘c’, ‘e’, ‘g’, and ‘s’ are angled in Arial, while they are horizontal or vertical in Helvetica.

Despite these differences, Arial is widely used as a substitute for Helvetica, especially on Windows systems where Helvetica is not pre-installed. It’s worth noting, however, that for professional designers and typographers, these differences can be quite significant, and each font has its unique characteristics and uses.


Is Helvetica a good font for Dyslexia?

Helvetica, with its clear, simple shapes and generous spacing, can be relatively comfortable for many readers. However, it is not generally considered one of the most dyslexia-friendly fonts. People with dyslexia often find typefaces with heavier base lines, different shapes for each letter, and larger openings in letters (like ‘a’ or ‘e’) easier to read, as these design features reduce the chances of letters being mirrored or flipped.

Fonts like Dyslexie, OpenDyslexic, Comic Sans, Verdana, and Arial are often recommended for dyslexic readers due to their distinct letter shapes and wide letter spacing. These design elements help to minimize confusion between visually similar letters (like ‘p’ and ‘q’ or ‘b’ and ‘d’), improving legibility for dyslexic readers.

However, every individual’s experience with dyslexia is different, so the effectiveness of a particular font can vary from person to person. It’s always a good idea to test different fonts or offer customizable font options if your audience includes dyslexic readers.

Is Helvetica® A free font? Is Helvetica® Free to Download?

No,Helvetica® is not free to download. You will need to pay for it I'm afraid. Almost every font that we list on HighFonts.com is a paid-for, premium font. We do have a Free Fonts section where we list free fonts that you can download. There is no point trying to find a free download of Helvetica® so please don't waste your time looking.

It is highly unlikely that you'll be able to find Helvetica® for free. There's a lot of websites that will say "Free Download" but these are just attempts to get you to click on a link which will either take you to an ad landing page or you risk getting viruses on your computer. In the rare occasion that you do find a free download for Helvetica® remember that it's illegal to use a font if you didn't pay for it!

If you really want Helvetica® and you want to truly own it the legal and safe way, then click here to visit the download and purchase page on MyFonts.com. Here you will be able to obtain the proper license. The designer and publisher deserves to be paid for their work, as they have put in the hours and the creativity to produce such an amazing font. Good luck with your purchase and future use of this font. :)