Tuesday, September 4, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

So You Think You Can Tell Arial From Helvetica?

Ironic Sans (via Hacker News):

I’ve taken 20 logos that were originally designed in Helvetica, and I’ve redone them in Arial. Some people would call that blasphemy. I call it a challenge: can you tell which is the original and which is the remake?

Previously: Arial and Helvetica.

11 Comments

17/20 Ariel has some dead giveaways that identify it.

Yet another test people will use to suggest first impressions trump more in depth consideration. See also: double blind audio quality testing with short samples of unfamiliar sources.

I'm neither a typographer nor a design pro, but I scored 18/20. All caps BASF and TOYOTA threw me! I did spend a lot more time thinking about those two.

17 of 20. In the cases when I was really stumped (MATTEL, TOYOTA), I chose the one I thought looked better. Helvetica, every time.

Arial is definitely one of these typefaces that make me unreasonably sad, but, in the hands of talented designers, it can actually (and surprisingly) be made to shine. The Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris has been using it for some time to great effect (www.mam.paris.fr). The original posters, which were presumably composed by the designers who came up with the idea, were infinitely better than what they are putting out now, but the identity still works in spite of being “unapologetically Arial.” And think of how much they saved on licensing!

19/20. MATTEL was a doozy. I now appreciate Helvetica's capital M more

17/20. Like others, I got a few all-caps logos wrong.

19/20 and the 19 all took me fractions of a second… but Mattel completely defeated me. I got stuck for 15 minutes and still picked the wrong one. The letter spacing is hand-tweaked on the logos, and the proportions of those letter shapes shift in different directions at different candidate weights between the typefaces, so even after starting at those letter shapes for 15 minutes I still don’t know how to reliably tell apart the typefaces by those particular letters without at least knowing which weight was used in at least one of the samples. I wonder if there’s some characteristic I failed to notice or if getting 20/20 requires a lucky guess.

MATTEL was the only one I got wrong as well. I just picked the one that looked "right", based on having seen the logo before, but I guess my sense of recognition failed me. The other logo that I took the same approach with was TOYOTA, but I got that one right.

After Helvetica, the Film (a great documentary, by the way) came out, I made a popular typographer joke shirt with a beautifully printed “Helvetica” on it set in Arial.

A subtle test of ones font recognition skills.

http://fancyham.com/shirts/Fancy_Shirts/Helvetica,_The_Shirt.html

>Yet another test people will use to suggest first impressions trump more in depth consideration.
>See also: double blind audio quality testing with short samples of unfamiliar sources.

And these people are right, in both instances.

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