Visually similar alternatives to Helvetica?

I’d like to use something similar-but-different for my poster project.

I’ve already ruled out:

  • Arial
  • Avant Garde/Futura – too geometric
  • Frutiger – too humanist

I guess I’m looking for something that will be a close match in most of its shapes but will have enough points of difference to make people (OK, other designers) wonder what I’ve used. e.g. a single story ‘a’ or distinctly different ‘g’.

Please include a visual example if possible, and include some reasons why each font would be a good choice; I’m after a smallish number of well-thought-out suggestions, and definitely not a bare list.

For Bounty

I (Ryan, whom is editing this) asked what is meant by dated. This was the response, Michael Lai gave me:

There have been questions about free alternatives to Helvetica and also similar fonts to Helvetica Neue, but the answers were based on available fonts from at least a couple years ago and I would like to know if there have been changes or new fonts since. Also, it is best to get a visual comparison between fonts if possible (e.g. by overlaying them over one another).


Folio Medium

  • counters in C, c and e have similarly closed feeling
  • bowls in a, b, d, g, p & q are relatively wider
  • arches in m & n are sharper
  • x-height slightly lower
  • slightly more condensed
  • distinct Q
  • has the Helvetica arrowyness in G and overall many similar letters

And as Philip Regan already pointed out:

Univers Medium

  • slightly wider, except a
  • x-height slightly lower
  • wider tracking
  • overall more modern, especially the distinct G and Q
  • counters in C and c are more open

Both have the same Helveticy firmness in the capital letters. Both also come in different flavours.

Source : Link , Question Author : e100 , Answer Author : Community

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