User Interface Typography

by admin    April 19, 2012

As more people use electronic devices as primary sources of reading, type design for user interfaces continues to gain significance.

Steve Matteson, type designer and creative director of Monotype Imaging, claims that Apple’s usage of Helvetica throughout its mobile devices is far from the right decision.

He claims that the font, originally designed in the 60’s meant for large settings, has its flaws when used as a primary font set at small sizes to be read on “vibrating” mobile screens. He points that the font’s primary flaw is in its terminals. In comparison to Matteson’s Segoe (used on Android devices), Helvetica’s terminals begin to “close-in,” especially at smaller sizes.

Perhaps Matteson is somewhat biased since Segoe is his baby after all. And to be honest, I have but a single complaint for Helvetica:

I love u, Helvetica, but hate that I can’t tell if that’s a capital “I” or a lowercase “L” sometimes.



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