• Transform magazine
  • July 30, 2021

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Monotype introduces Helvetica Now Variable font

MT Monotype Helveticanowvariable 3 (1)

Font and technology specialist agency, Monotype, has introduced Helvetica Now Variable, a new font offering over a million new Helvetica Now styles in one font file. Helvetica Now Variable builds on the 2019 release of Helvetica Now, which reimagined the 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 different shades of expression, typographic animations, and ultra-refined typography.

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 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. 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,” says Charles Nix, creative type director at Monotype.
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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 package. Helvetica Now Variable 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.

“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,” says Friedrich Althausen, type designer at Monotype.

“As a technology-driven design firm, adopting disruptive technologies is a part of our DNA. From virtual and augmented reality to parametric modeling 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,” says Robyn Gillrie, manager of brand and creative strategy at architecture firm IBI Group
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