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Why Helvetica?

Helvetica is so widely used because of its simplicity and accessibility. To many people, Helvetica is easy and neutral enough to be used on anything and everything. However, because of its widespread use, Helvetica has been associated now with capitalism, politics, control, and assimilation. Helvetica started off as an avatar for balance and practicality that many typographers and graphic designers were in need of. The simple, contained design allowed for the font to be universal, strong, and easy to read. Its use on street signs, government buildings, aircrafts and official documents has made Helvetica one of the most popular fonts today. But its because of how widely used it is, that many people do not recognize the impact it has on them. As Helvetica became over-used, many people started to associate the font with the government and powerful companies and though it was used as a way to control and globalize the world.

It is interesting how this font can be seen in so many different ways especially since its intent was to be neutral. The curvature of the letters and the negative space are not daring or harsh but simple, refined, and relatively monotonous. It is how the font has been used since its creation, over fifty years ago, that gives it its varied connotations.

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