The Graphic Design Award for Excellence 2012, recently conferred to our studio for the Helvetica Minimal typeset, is universally considered a recognition of a lifetime. The Brandpowder Team wishes to thank John Kleiser, Susan Martling and Bruce Jenner for their enthusiasm, help and never-ending support in making this dream come true. Helvetica Minimal has been elected by the International Jury (composed by 42 graphic artists and art directors from 11 Countries) as one of the most interesting aesthetic accomplishments in type design in 50 years. Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffman developed the original sans serif character in 1957. Since then, Helvetica – the most widely used character in the world – has been extended to a full range of variations. Helvetica Minimal, for example, stems from the Neue Helvetica version of 1983, designed by Wolfgang Schimpf and Erik Spiekermann for better legibility. The Brandpowder Team has been developing Minimal as an ink-saving, eco-friendly type with a 60% lower impact on the environment. Helvetica Minimal not only requires less ink, it also needs less bleach in paper recycling. Of course adapting your reading skills to this extremely synthetic character is not an overnight process. According to Bob Reds, one of the designers involved in the project, it takes about two weeks to reach a comfort zone. Once you get used, the old type starts to look almost prehistoric, he says. Helvetica Minimal will be available in three different bodies – light, medium and bold – by the end of the year.
From left to right: Catherine Jonasson, Carlo Muttoni and Bob Reds, celebrating the event at the Kissing Boat Studios. Below: Gladstone Gardens, the private villa near Geneve where the G.D.A.E. took place.
Above: subtle, fundamental nuances in type design. Helvetica’s story is a fascinating one. Below: the 1957 design from the Swiss Haas Type Foundry. (Images courtesy of Jim Hood of GearedBull).