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Haas Unica - A story of Helvetica reinvented


It has had a life ubiquitously seen throughout our lives.

Helvetica has been used in advertisements, titles, print, and has been the default in many shipping computers for the past, well, forever.

Weights in Black and White
Helvetica was designed by Haas for letterpress use, though. It was not intended for today's use on computers and has had a refresh of its own to be used on Apple products with Helvetica Neue. But that really isn't the full story.

The Swiss foundry, Haas created Helvetica for a purpose and after seeing where it was going and how it was being used, decided a refactoring was needed. In 1974, Haas finished the design and it started being put into use at the same point that Haas was going out of business. A large number of foundries had found themselves in this precarious position, largely because they were not used nearly as much as the technology changed.

The nail in the coffin was that digital publishing was about to be born.

Monotype has been doing research through its archives and found that they had the rights to use the Haas Unica type, and have gone through to digitally ready the font for release.

With many similarities, the most striking difference may be in the delicate natures of the letters “d” and “b”.

More on Haas can be found on Wired here →

Typeface weight sample
Basic Latin Extended typeface sample
Darren Odden

Darren Odden

The charismatic megafauna of love. Built by Divine Design architecting strategies designed to engage. Frank Lloyd Wright shed a single glistening tear at the beauty of his application architecture.

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Haas Unica - A story of Helvetica reinvented
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