;   Medical Translation Insight: What's the difference between Helvetica and Arial? - ForeignExchange Translations

What's the difference between Helvetica and Arial?The difference is, of course, that Helvetica is better than Arial.

Here are five resources to pay homage to the world's greatest typeface:

  1. Fuck Yeah Helvetica is a blog dedicated to all things Helvetica
  2. Play Helvetica vs. Arial and let Arial know that we don't need its type around here
  3. Helvetica, the feature film
  4. After viewing the movie, discuss the differences between Arial and Helvetica
  5. Helvetica? That's that font that looks kinda like Arial, right?

At ForeignExchange Translations, we are font and language geeks. We help medical device and pharmaceutical companies look and sound just right, in any language. Contact us to find out more.


  1. Maya Shoemaker said...
    greatness vs. fairly good imitation-greatness!

    [Via LinkedIn]
    Publicat said...
    With all the serious contradictions that populate this poor world of us, I find the issue rather irrelevant and a sort of the old Macintosh vs. IBM PC dispute’s anachronistic spin-off. But it’s OK, you have thrown the glove with your emphatic statement “The difference is, of course, that Helvetica is better than Arial.” Which sounds as respectably subjective as any other aesthetic value judgment. Of course, I disagree.

    My thoughts tend to be slant and flexible by themselves, most of the time I don’t need matching characteristics in the typography I use as a vehicle--on the contrary, the less intrusive, the better. I love curves in women’s bodies, not necessarily in the shapes of the letters I write with. Because of their Mondrianesque orthogonality, Arial types fit perfectly their function for abstract discourses, such as scientific translations. Even minimal, curves are always a factor of distraction. Permit me to shift to an extreme in order to clarify middle shades (like psychiatrists do when they speak about “paranoid” and “schizoid” personalities). Have you tried to compose body text using the Vivaldi font from ITC? Although Vivaldi may be an exquisite choice for some occasions... Please don't kill Arial, use both whenever appropriate.
    amaxson said...
    As a graphic designer that specialized in typography, I can tell you the difference between Arial and Helvetica. The sad truth is, the common person can't. The common person in fact, rarely notices if the font was even serif or sans-serif (or know what a serif is, for that matter).
    While I appreciate that Helvetica is in fact designed better than Arial, in my opinion. The fact of the matter is, Helvetica is a pain! Helvetica is a Prima Donna. Never wanting to activate correctly, not playing nice with other versions of Helvetica that are installed. I actually groan when I have to coax my machine into activating the correct Helveticas without throwing up font errors.
    Does anyone else have this love/hate relationship with Helvetica?
    And, I don't think we should be so mad at Arial. If you want to dislike a typeface, how about comic sans or papyrus?

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