Linotype Announces Helvetica NOW Poster Contest

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The popularity of the no nonsense type classic Helvetica as a corporate typeface has grown steadily since its introduction in 1957. Accordingly, 50 years later, there are many achievements to look back on – but also an exciting future to look forwards to. This is why Linotype has announced a new initiative to celebrate the 50 years of Helvetica's straight-talking success. Designers worldwide are invited to take part in the Helvetica NOW Poster Contest, an unprecedented online opportunity to exhibit innovative design, win prizes and gain international creative acclaim.

In a world where we are inundated with written information, type has never been so present in our lives as it is today. Of the countless typefaces we encounter daily, none has attained the wide distribution and broad popularity of Helvetica. This inspired Linotype to come up with a unique way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the typeface – by inviting designers worldwide to take part in the Helvetica NOW Poster Contest. The contest asks participants to submit their poster design work which has been published between 2000 and 2007 and which uses Helvetica as a primary or secondary typeface. In addition, participants may design a new poster (or submit an unpublished one) which explores the role of type in modern life, and the way in which typography – especially Helvetica – affects our perception of the world. This exploration of Helvetica's manifest presence in our lives is open to each designer's interpretation – even photography may be inlcuded.

Submissions for the contest will be accepted from July 4-October 4, 2007. True to Helvetica's simplicity, there are no fees to enter and there is no jury. That is, winners will be selected via live online voting in which anyone may participate! From mid-October on, the entries will be available for viewing at www.linotype.com/helveticaNOW and the voting begins. The winners will be announced in the January 2008 issue of the LinoLetter, the first three winners receiving prizes totaling more than 15,000 euros. Contest entry specifications are described in detail at www.linotype.com/helveticaNOW.

Exactly what makes Helvetica so appealing as a typeface? To the Greeks of antiquity, the golden mean was an attribute of beauty and the desired midpoint between the two extremes of excess and deficiency. In the visual world, Helvetica illustrates this ancient truth of the beauty of moderation.

Helvetica lends a refreshing air of clarity to any typographic message. Its balanced, cool forms are perfect for the corporate environment: no frills, just the clear presentation of information. This neutral approach originated in the heart of neutrality in Europe during and after WWII: Switzerland. Based on creative trends at the time, in 1957 Swiss designer Max Miedinger (1910-1980) developed a new sans serif typeface named Neue Haas Grotesk, based on the so-called Schelter-Grotesk (1880). In 1960, the name was changed to Helvetica (an adaptation of "Helvetia", the Latin name for Switzerland).

Over the years, Helvetica has been continuously refined. In 1983, Neue Helvetica was introduced in a redesigned and digitalized form that made the world's most popular font family even more desirable. Neue Helvetica is known for its harmonious structure, outstanding clarity, wealth of weights and its ability to lend a character of classical modernity to any corporate design, without dominating it. In 2001, Linotype released the Helvetica World typeface family, an update of the original design using the OpenType font format with a multilingual character-set. Together, the three Helvetica typeface families have become a stylistic anchor in our visual culture, with a versatility that lends itself to all forms of communicative application.

Linotype GmbH, based in Bad Homburg, Germany and a wholly owned subsidiary of Monotype Imaging Holdings Inc., looks back onto a history of more than 120 years. Building on its strong heritage, Linotype develops state-of-the-art font technology and offers more than 9000 original typefaces, covering the whole typographic spectrum from antique to modern, from east to west, and from classical to experimental. All typefaces (in PostScript and TrueType format as well as more than 7,000 fonts in OpenType) are now also available for instant download at www.linotype.com. In addition to supplying digital fonts, Linotype also offers comprehensive and individual consultation and support services for font applications in worldwide (corporate) communication.

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