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Helvetica font, is there an EXACT match?

Discussion in 'Fonts and Typography' started by Puck, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. Puck

    Puck Member

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    I'm looking for an EXACT match up to the Helvetica Bold font, is there a font that does this?

    I'm having trouble getting signmate to load Helvetica in windows 95 and thought I'd try a different font if theres one out there. For some reason signmate will only except HelvBlack and not HelvBold, weird but have tried for two days now to load it in and signmate will not recogonize it.

    It has to be an exact match up since I have signs from the last 12+ years that uses this font (it's a legal thing with hospitals and directional signs, san serif only here) and I can't change it any. Spacing, thickness, the slightest little difference will show up like a sore thumb (been there, done that, not going to do it again).

    Anyone know of a font that matchs up?

    Thanks,
    Puck
     
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  2. bob

    bob Major Contributor

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    The short answer is no. Even font files from different sources all labeled 'Helvetica' are not necessarily identical. 'Helvetica' is a style to be interpreted by each foundry rather than a rigid definition.

    That notwithstanding, in general Helvetica==Swiss~=Zurich. Close enough that you wouldn't want to live off the difference.
     
  3. SAS

    SAS Active Member

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    If you have been doing signs for 12 years I guess you are going to stay in business for at least 12 more. You need to upgrade your windows, most new programs will not even run on 95. Why waste time asking for a like font that you may not be able to run. I can see running Illy 6 vs CS but windows 95 vs XP it's only $100 for the home version. I think it's time to put some money back in your business.
     
  4. cdsgraphic

    cdsgraphic Member

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    Hi Puck,

    The "oldest" forms of helvetica, that I know of, and that you may want to look into are from Letraset and Linotype. These companies have been around since BC. of course you have to buy them... they can be found at myfonts.com
     
  5. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    The chances are that the font is actually there and SignMate just isn't accessing it.

    Check first in your Control Panel > Fonts folder to see if the font is actually there. Check also for the presence of Adobe Type Manager which used to be included with FlexiSign and probably also with SignMate. While you're there check to see how many fonts you have installed. If there are a bunch, then cut it back by deleting unneeded font until the count is less than 300. Then, if Helvetica Bold is installed, see if it shows up.

    Are you using just TrueType fonts or are you also using Postscript Type 1 and Adobe Type Manager? If you use ATM, then the basic Helvetica family is a core font of that utility. If you also install a TrueType version, there is a chance they will conflict and block each other out. If this is the case, delete the TrueType version.

    Helvetica is owned by Linotype and licensed to Adobe. The only version you should use should be one or the other and in only one format ... Type 1 or TrueType. You should also check to see whether any printer you may have installed includes any printer fonts which include the core Helvetica group of Regular, Bold, Italic and Bold Italic.
     
  6. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    What font format is that weight of Helvetica? True Type, Type 1, OpenType, etc.? Could it be encoded in a newer flavor of those formats with features your old machine does not support. For example, my ClearviewHwy fonts are OpenType, but feature True Type outlines and a .TTF suffix yet have a character set well beyond the normal True Type range.

    Fonts that have been converted from Mac to PC and vice versa may have technical problems and fail to load.

    There are several different and authentic flavors of Helvetica. Linotype and Adobe distribute two. Standard Helvetica letters are noticeably different from Helvetica Neue; the versions of Helvetica that are numbered (like Helvetica65, Helvetica95, etc.) are in the "neue" family. Apple had their own flavor licensed from Linotype, which may be slightly different from the standard version sold by Adobe.

    The various clones of Helvetica further confuse the matter. Swiss 721 BT, CG Triumvirate and URW Nimbus Sans are the most common of Helvetica clones.

    BTW, "Zurich" is not a clone of Helvetica. It is Bitstream's clone of Univers.
     
  7. bob

    bob Major Contributor

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    You're absolutely correct. I was thinking of something else that's sort of a clone of a clone that can trace a sketchy ancestry back to Helvetica, hence the '~='. The name of the thing eludes me at the moment but it has something to do with Switzerland.
     
  8. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    You may be thinking of Helios.

    The primary clones of Helvetica are Truimvirate from Agfa and Swiss from Bitstream.
     
  9. Puck

    Puck Member

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    Feb 17, 2006

    No, I do not intend to stay in this business for another 12 years, been there done it and planning on retiring in about 5 years. Sooner if I decide to.

    No time wasted for me, was just a question you didn't have to waste time answering.
     
  10. Puck

    Puck Member

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    I have swiss721 BT and it is like you say, very close. So will do a couple layouts and see if I can notice the difference in a directory at the hospital before I buy another Helvetica font CD.

    Thanks,
    Puck
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2006
  11. Puck

    Puck Member

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    Found the exact one I need from Linotype, will purchase it if it comes to that.

    Might be getting in touch with you soon.

    Thanks,
    Puck
     
  12. Puck

    Puck Member

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    Thanks Fred for the input, I'll try your suggestions.

    I took and installed other Helvetica fonts today from a different font CD and they show up just fine. I'm thinking that it is the Helvetica fonts on the one CD because I loaded all the fonts off the CD today in my XP machine and they all show up but the Helvetica fonts. They are in the fonts folder but do not show up in coreldraw or any other program. So thinking they are not a true TTF.

    Have two weeks vacation from the hospital sign work so will have it all worked out by that time.

    Thanks,
    Puck
     
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