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10 alternatives to Helvetica

For decades, Helvetica has been one of the world’s most popular sans serifs, and for sure the most popular Neo-Grotesque. But what if you want something with the general structure and feel of Helvetica but, well, not Helvetica?

While some of my picks are very typical of the Neo-Grotesque category, others introduce some atypical details that lead the typefaces into warmer or friendlier territories. JAF Bernino Sans, especially in the lowercase, introduces softer details that make it appear more like a hybrid Neo-Grotesque and Humanist Sans; Brown, from Shinntype, similarly appears less austere by its use of ink-traps. Others, like Antarctican and Faktum, differentiate themselves by introducing more contrast at the joins; and Spektra, from Type Salon, pushes the genre to its limits: note the lowercase t, capital Y and J; and it includes a backslant style — not your grandmother’s Neo-Grotesque!

So, here are our ten alternatives to Helvetica:


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The Last Word on Helvetica
Ask ILT: Grotesque and Neo-Grotesque