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Why Helvetica was a bad font choice for Yosemite

When Apple announced that the next version of OS X, Yosemite was to use Helvetica Neue instead of Lucida Grande, I was disappointed, but not surprised. The inevitable harmonising of OS X and iOS has meant the former taking design cues from the latter more recent system.

Helvetica looks nice in lighter and heavy weights shown large, but for small menus like this I detest it. Lucida Grande may have been missing an italic version, and looked clunky in bold above 14px, but it works well as an interface font. It also had some character, without being in your face. In a small text context, Helvetica is the absence of character, a bland ‘default’. A nothing.

Fast Company interviewed Tobias Frere-Jones, who identifies the problem with Helvetica succinctly:

Despite its grand reputation, Helvetica can’t do everything. It works well in big sizes, but it can be really weak in small sizes. Shapes like ‘C’ and ‘S’ curl back into themselves, leaving tight “apertures”—the channels of white between a letter’s interior and exterior. So each shape halts the eye again and again, rather than ushering it along the line. The lowercase ‘e,’ the most common letter in English and many other languages, takes an especially unobliging form. These and other letters can be a pixel away from being some other letter, and we’re left to deal with flickers of doubt as we read.

Read the full article on Fast Company Design

You can say I love you with Helvetica (and Rest of the World shipping)

New Helvetica Notebooks from Veer

Sigh. There goes more lovely Veer merchandise that can’t get shipped to the UK. I guess I’ll just have to add this to the list of other Veer merchandise out of my reach.

Now I’m sure there are plenty of folks in US or Canada who would kindly re-post these items, but I’m not the only one who’d lap up the opportunity to spend in the name of Veer. Too many for someone to handle – we need to be able to order from the source! C’mon Veer!