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The reason why Helvetica is not standard on Microsoft Windows

The reason why Helvetica is not standard on Microsoft Windows

When Microsoft was choosing fonts for Windows, around 1991 or so, they made a licensing deal with Monotype, who were nearly bankrupt at the time and made a very favorable (to Microsof) deal.

Monotype provided fonts that were metrically equivalent to the some of the key publishing fonts available from their arch-rival Linotype and bundled with Adobe’s PostScript publishing solutions: Arial (instead of Helvetica), Courier New (an alternative version of Courier, which neither company owned) and Times New Roman (Monotype’s version of Linotype’s Times Roman, a Monotype design legitimately available from both companies due to the needs of the Times of London back in the 1930s).

Shortly thereafter, Microsoft licensed a bunch of additional fonts from Monotype to have a full set of 35 fonts with the same widths as the core 35 PostScript fonts (all from Linotype and ITC).

Most of these were not direct rip-offs of the originals, or had some alternative route for the same design heritage. Sure, the filled the same design niche, but they had noticeable differences, even if the widths were the same. This was true for Arial, for example. Monotype started out with Monotype Grotesque, and adjusted the widths of letters a lot, and the design only a little, to create Arial.

Century Gothic is even further from ITC Avant Garde, and Monotype Corsiva is even further than that from ITC Zapf Chancery.
By the way, ITC sued Monotype over this, but lost.

The most striking exception to this similar-but-distinctly-different trend was Book Antiqua. It really is just a complete rip-off of Palatino. This was made a bigger problem in that the designer of Palatino, Hermann Zapf, was furious about it. He even quit the main international professional organization in type design (ATypI) over their failure to help address this issue. But eventually Microsoft came back and licensed Palatino from Linotype to try to make good with everyone. But they had to keep distributing Book Antiqua as well, because of the need for compatibility with the gazillions of documents out there already using the typeface under that name.

The greatest irony in all this is that Monotype later acquired first ITC and then Linotype. So it now owns all the originals of the fonts they previously made work-alike equivalents of.



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kreativeMAGZ: The reason why Helvetica is not standard on Microsoft Windows
The reason why Helvetica is not standard on Microsoft Windows
The reason why Helvetica is not standard on Microsoft Windows
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