Remembering The Man Who Brought Helvetica To The Masses


This post comes via Longreads contributor Laura Bliss:

In this week’s Economist, a remembrance of “font-god” Mike Parker, the typographer who developed more than 1000 fonts in his 50+ year career. Parker, who died last month at age 84, was a champion of great type: never drawing fonts himself, but rather coaxing others into perfection. His faculty for shape, space, and fine gauge of cultural currents changed the industry, and much more, when Parker brought Helvetica to the masses:

In contrast to the delicate exuberance of 16th-century types, Helvetica was plain, rigidly horizontal – and eminently readable. It became, in Mr. Parker’s hands, the public typeface of the modern world: of the New York Subway, of federal income-tax forms, of the logos of McDonald’s, Microsoft, Apple, Lufthansa and countless others. It was also, for its clarity, the default type of Macs, and so leapt smoothly into the desktop age.

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