idsgn (a design blog)

Sonoran: The hidden truths

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April 4 2011

On April 1st, we posted an article titled Sonoran: The next Helvetica. Yes, this was an April Fool’s Day joke—and yes, the actual typeface we showed was Arial. But it wasn’t all lies.

Here are some hidden truths that you may or may not have spotted:

  1. Arial was originally named Sonoran Sans Serif (we did not make this up), created by Monotype to compete with Helvetica.
  2. The typeface was, as we said, designed by Robin Nicholas and Patricia Saunders.
  3. It was designed in the 1980s (originally released in 1982 as Sonoran, renamed Arial in 1992).
  4. Helvetica was designed by Max Miedinger in 1957, of course—everything about Helvetica was true.
  5. Massimo Vignelli did say “Helvetica is our ultimate typeface: objective, powerful, and delicate according to weight” (the rest we made up).
  6. FontFont did take down their website on April 1st, but it was to launch a brand new website (which is up now, and looking great).
  7. Arial does have robust multilingual character support, with Narrow, Light, Black, Rounded, and Monospaced varieties.
  8. Gary Hustwit is releasing a special director’s cut of Helvetica, titled Helvetica Neue—although you missed your chance to buy a copy if you didn’t support his Kickstarter fund last month.
  9. Microsoft introduced Arial as the default font with Windows 3.1 (in 1992), not Windows 7.1.
  10. The typeface is available for purchase from (as Arial), and has been for years.

Fun fact: the background on our Sonoran title graphic comes from a blurred Windows 7 screenshot.

Thanks for sharing a laugh with us!

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Filed under: typography

By Skylar Challand