The origin of Helvetica takes us back to the year 1957, when it was developed in Switzerland by designers Max Miedinger and Eduardo Hoffmann. When the typeface was being created, the whole purpose of its design was to produce a font that has a neutral, clean, and simple look. It was meant to create a sense of clarity, something that has no intrinsic meaning in its form and its use is so flexible that it could be utilized in various ways.
The famous typeface, originally called Neue Haas Grotesk, had its name officially changed to "Helvetica" in order to make it more marketable and recognizable internationally. The typeface has been warmly welcomed all over the world, with its presence covering logos, product packaging, tax documents, billboards, and street signs. To pay tribute to the famous typeface, director Gary Hustwit produced a documentary that solely focused on the upbringing of Helvetica while commemorating its 15th year anniversary. The film took a deeper dive into explaining why Helvetica has been so widely accepted and become popular all over the world. Graphic designer, Wim Crouwel, emphasized that Helvetica is so versatile in its use due to its lack of general meaning and overall neutral look. The documentary highlighted the power that lies in Helvetica and how many designers are starting a "typeface revolution" by shying away from its heavy use and thus making room for the creation and use of new typeface styles.
The honoring of the famous typeface doesn't end there! Between 2007 and 2008, the MoMa museum in New York City displayed an exhibit called "50 Years of Helvetica" to celebrate the use and widespread fame of the font. In 2011, Google also took part in celebrating Helvetica on April Fool's Day by configuring all search engine results to appear in the font Comic Sans whenever a user searched the term "Helvetica".
But the love for Helvetica does not end there. The typeface was so inspirational to the Mondaine family that we decided to launch a watch collection solely dedicated to Helvetica, called "the Helvetica Collection". The watches feature the typeface on the watch case and the numerals are all in Helvetica as well. The watches come in a light, regular, and bold option, all accompanied by stainless steel and sapphire crystal. We even launched a Smart Watch within the Helvetica series, in addition to collaborating with world-renowned graphic designer, Erik Spierkermann, to create and launch a hybrid collection dedicated to him and Helvetica.
Although many will argue that Helvetica is worn out and overused, we believe that it is here to stay. People have become so familiar and so accustomed to the typeface, it's almost hard to imagine a world without Helvetica. For now, the team at Mondaine will continue to appreciate and be inspired by its history and use, and we hope you will feel the same way!