Monotype today introduced Helvetica Now Variable, offering over a million new Helvetica Now styles in one state-of-the-art font file. Helvetica Now Variable builds on the 2019 release of Helvetica Now, which reimagined the clarity, simplicity and neutrality of classic Helvetica with 21st-century design needs including optical sizing, stylistic alternates and an extended character set. The variable font allows designers to blend Helvetica Now’s weights (hairline to extra black), optical sizes (four point to infinity) and new compressed and condensed widths to create infinite shades of expression, incredible typographic animations, and ultra-refined typography.
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The Monotype Studio has witnessed a wave of interest and adoption of variable fonts over the past year especially as digital transformation drives home the need for both brand distinctiveness and smaller, faster fonts for quicker web load times. The variable format gives Helvetica Now users access to cutting-edge typography with design flexibility and expression, both in static instances and in dynamic applications, plus greater novelty, choice and improved digital performance.
“The incredibly positive reception to Helvetica Now makes us proud to build upon this time-tested design even further,” said Charles Nix, Creative Type Director at Monotype. “This font gives designers the firepower they need – from greater creative freedom to typographic expression – to produce exquisitely fine-tuned typography and expressive, animated headlines. Moreover, it’s just plain fun, with the potential to bring the good news of variable fonts to the masses. Helvetica Now Variable is everything Helvetica should be today.”
Built for a digital-first future.
Unlike previous font formats that required each style within a family to be a separate file, Helvetica Now Variable bundles the necessary DNA for every style into one tidy package. This allows designers to move through the entire sequence — mixing, matching, and custom creating millions of variations on the family theme — seamlessly through one file that is a fraction of the size of the combined static fonts. Helvetica Now Variable also adds an extensive width axis for designers who must fit more into less space, like with responsive design for the web, small smartwatch screens, or packaging micro-type like ingredient lists.
“Of course, it was an honor to work on the classic Helvetica family, but it was also challenging,” said Friedrich Althausen, Type Designer, Monotype. “Making a Variable font with three axes, nine master drawings, compatible outline nodes, and clean interpolations is no small feat. I was part of a coordinated team of experienced type designers and font engineers—translating the spirit of the original design to a cutting-edge, digital font format. From the tail of the small ‘a’ to rarely-used reference marks, we discussed every detail, corrected, and tested extensively. The result is an amazing modern design tool and a new chapter in the illustrious Helvetica story.”
For creative and brand leaders, this announcement breathes even more life into a timeless typeface. “The many articles and books—and even a movie—have made the case for Helvetica’s dominance and longevity. Helvetica Now and Helvetica Now Variable are new chapters in the story—ensuring the family is viable and vital for decades to come,” added Nix.
What the design community is saying about variable fonts.
“As a technology-driven design firm, adopting disruptive technologies is a part of our DNA,” said Robyn Gillrie, Manager, Brand & Creative Strategy, IBI Group. “From virtual and augmented reality to parametric modelling to robotic process automation and more, we see the adoption of variable fonts – itself a disruptor – as no less an opportunity to enhance, differentiate, and digitally optimize IBI Group’s brand identity.”
“Branding is changing fundamentally, moving beyond a static approach and requiring a high degree of flexibility to remain competitive,” noted Markus Sauer, Digital Design Director, KMS. “We believe that state-of-the-art design systems will see a shift towards the adoption of variable fonts within the next few years, as the format offers the ability to build brand experiences within a plethora of environments. The future will be driven by adaptive branding.”
Pricing and availability.
Helvetica Now Variable Pro Roman and Pro Italic are available for $299 or €329 each. The complete Helvetica Now Variable Family Pack is available for $499 or €549.
The Helvetica Now family and individual typefaces are also available with a variety of licensing options for customers through Monotype enterprise sales. To learn more, visit the specimen page.
To join the conversation about Helvetica Now Variable on social media, search #MoreHelveticaNow on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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