Fellow type philosophers lend me your ears

blackbirdsings's picture

Maybe my judgment has gone askew, maybe i drank too much coffee, but even if i can't convince the client I want to know whether my heart is right or wrong. So please respond.

So currently in the first image they use Helvetica exclusively in all kinds of GIGANTIC SALE ways on their website. Actually more extended and condensed, but never anything in between.

I really do heart Helvetica, but this is a candle company. They have Trajan in use in their identity and I just feel Helvetica has no place in their typographic repertoire. It's lack of character(at least relating to the company's aesthetic look) just grinds against my constitution as seen below. I think it just cheapens the look.


Rather do I give props to the same Helvetica, because it can look like a supermarket ad and just excuse it for use when they have a clearance(purely for the pervasive psychology and overuse of said typeface).

These example of course doesn't have candles, but meant to be a seasonal theme(indian summer)in relation to new fall colours. The photo is just a test, so lets not focus on critiquing that. In use in the first image is the illustrious Sackers Gothic. I couldn't find the history of Sackers to back up any argument, but it has that retro, nostalgic feel that you'd find on an old 50's pickup in Door County, Wisconsin. At least to me. It may not be that old, but it's similar-looking fore fathers pass that nostalgia on don't they?



Overall thoughts. The writing of this book is done.


blank's picture

You’re right, Helvetica does not work with scented candles. Maybe if they’re black leather jackboot scented, but otherwise, no.

lapiak's picture

I don't see why Helvetica shouldn't work with candles. Sure, it's overused and I wouldn't use Helvetica either, but with good choice of style, color and weight, Helvetica could work with candles.

Quincunx's picture

Maybe if you use one of the lighter weights. A bit more elegant. Although usually that reminds me more of.. fashion magazines or something.

timd's picture

>It’s lack of character (at least relating to the company’s aesthetic look)

Contrast can be a good reason for choosing a typeface – especially if it is intended to sit on an image – and Helvetica offers a broad choice of weights and widths, Sackers Gothic doesn’t. Linking choice with size, colour and placement (including ranging) is the job of the designer (typographer) – in your samples I am not convinced that either reach an optimum position, size or colour (in that order). If anything I would say that Trajan is the obvious (too obvious) choice.


Chris Rugen's picture

Helvetica (in all its forms) provides a lot of variety for character. So, I think it's doable. But I certainly wouldn't go to it first for something like this. Trajan is another typeface that gets beat up because it offers what it does so well, but is usually completely inappropriate for what it's used (or over-used) for.

I think their original sample is generic as all hell and will numb the minds of consumers, but it's also not offensive. Their use of all lowercase letters helps to soften the Helvetica, whereas your sample uses neither the same cut of Helvetica, nor the same typographic treatment. It seems designed to fail.

Knowing nothing else, it's hard to recommend anything, but if I had to guess who the client is, I'd say go with what works best for the project and don't get hung up on using the same cut of Helvetica as they do on their site. They obviously don't cling to it too tightly.

blackbirdsings's picture


Chris you are pretty close, but not correct. I forgot that Yankee used Trajan as well.

I'll make some attempts from the above advice to use some other weights of Helvetica and see if that works.

I was using Avenir in various weights for another project. Anyone have any thoughts on that compared to using Helvetica without visual examples?

aluminum's picture

Ya know, I'd almost argue that scented candles are the Helvetica of the knick-knack world. Ubiquitous, unassuming, inoffensive.

Of course, this client wants SPECIAL candles that stand out, so I agree, scrap the Helvetica.

Syndicate content Syndicate content