Famous Logos in Helvetica
A while back, I took a series of famous logos and rendered them in the fonts Papyrus and Algerian. Why? Because along with Comic Sans, Papyrus and Algerian really irk graphic designers. All three of those fonts have gimmicks that make them stand out. Papyrus looks like ancient Egyptian Demotic writing, Algerian looks like an embroidered sampler, and Comic Sans looks like, well, comic book writing. Contrast these to the designers’ darling, Helvetica. Designed to be simple and unobtrusive, it is the epitome of Swiss minimalism. But Helvetica has become a victim of its own popularity. Graphic designers use it so much that it’s as played out as Comic Sans or Papyrus. And since it’s so overused, I decided to see what famous logos would look like redone in Helvetica. Here is what I came up with.
Unlike the logos I redid in Papyrus and Algerian fonts, the logos above don’t look all that different from their real-life counterparts. Most of them, anyway. Baskin Robbins, Denny’s and NASA don’t look unusual at all. Whole Foods, Home Depot look better, at least in my opinion. Burger King, Hooters and Paramount Pictures look just a little bit off. The revised Holiday Inn logo seems alright, but loses much of its resemblance to the real-life logo. And then there’s Yahoo. (Or “Yahoo!” As with Yum! Brands, they use an exclamation point in their name, which I will hereafter leave out.) The Yahoo logo is a mess in Helvetica. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a mess in real life, too. With it’s wacky, uneven lettering, it looks like something slapped together on an old Packard Bell computer. And since Yahoo’s logo is unchanged since the 1990s, that’s probably not far from the truth. Let’s face it, the Yahoo logo would look awful in any font.
As a graphic designer who’s never been a big fan of Helvetica, I gained some appreciation for the font while doing this project. For the most part, it is a very well designed typeface that looks good in many different contexts. The same cannot be said for Comic Sans, Papyrus or Algerian. And while I would like designers use a larger array of fonts, I understand why so many artists choose Helvetica.
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