Lunes, 30 Abril 2018 16:17

Futura vs Helvetica

One day, surfing the worlds of the Internet solving doubts in design forums, we found a statement that said jokingly something like this: an art director would prefer the Futura font while a designer would choose Helvetica. And this made us think about the differences between the professional profiles that work side by side on a daily basis in any artistic project. Moreover, we wondered about what those fonts represent in today's society. And since in Lampyridae we are all about solving mysteries and we do not need many excuses to investigate, we put ourselves to it.

To begin, let's learn more about these two types of professionals. According to Wikipedia:

"The artistic director is the person in charge of directing the teams of artistic design and production design in all kinds of works that contain a certain visual and artistic aspect, which includes media and artistic expression such as advertising, cinema, the edition of books, music, the press, video games and even the internet. "

For example, in cinema, the art director is responsible for the atmosphere of a film and the example we must put in this case is Gil Parrondo, who won two Oscars (for Patton in 1970 and Nicolás and Alejandra in 1971) and several awards Goya


"Graphic design is a profession whose activity consists in projecting visual communications destined to transmit specific messages to social groups, with specific objectives. This activity helps optimize graphic communications. Some popular classifications of graphic design are: graphic design, advertising, editorial design, corporate identity design, web design, packaging design, typographic design, signage, signage, among others. "

Some names of great Spanish designers are Alberto Corazón, -who you know by the design of the logos of ONCE, Paradores or Renfe- or Pepe Cruz Novillo, to which we owe the logos of Policía Nacional, Correos, El Mundo or PSOE.

We already know a little more about the professionals, so now we are going to find out about those two typographies that we talked about at the beginning. Certainly, in addition to Times New Roman and Comic Sans, are familiar to all of you and you have used them lots of times: we are talking about Futura and Helvetica


Created in 1927 by Paul Renner who deconstructed the letters into geometric shapes. Very in line with the artistic currents of the time, such as cubism. Futura represents a break with four centuries of evolution of the typography up to that time.

It is characterized by being a geometric sans-serif, with little modulation and loses the tails in the "t" or "g". It is associated with simplicity, naive or transparency for its simple, almost childish forms.

It has been used by well-known brands from very different industries and on films set on the present and the future.


Created in 1957 by Max Miedinger. It was an evolution of the Grotesk sans-serif Akzidenz-Grotesk, which has little modulation and is a bit rough and uneven. It evolved and became Helvetica, which was called Neo-grotesque or rationalist sans-serif. It has cleaner shapes and is mechanical in appearance.

For some it represents perfection for its neutrality and objectivity and for others it is a symbol of the current world dominated by corporate insensitivity. Helvetica has been also used by globally known brands. It was the protagonist of the 2007 documentary Helvetica by Gary Hustwit.

Eventually everything is related. A typography created decades ago may be perfect for a story set in the future. A filmmaker can see in a letter the reflection of today's society. Ultimately, it is not a question of who prefers what, right? What matters are the small great ideas that added to each other build something great in the end.