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Unfixable Helvetica

Michael Bierut talks to Gary Hustwit about Helvetica in 2006:

“…[I]t somehow has this kind of inherent rightness. You know, the rightness of the way the lowercase a meets the curve, the rightness of the way the G has a thing that comes down, the rightness of the way the C strokes are like that instead of like that. I wouldn’t have believed that those things actually could be right or wrong as opposed to someone’s taste, yet you have 50 years of history of the thing just sitting there daring people to fix it. It seems to be unfixable.”

The quote was taken from this book, which would make a swell gift for that designer in your life. Likewise Mr. Bierut’s manifesto, released just last month.

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By Designers, For Designers

We’re well into autumn, which means something different to everyone. To some it means changing leaves. To others it means pumpkin spice lattes. But to us, it means the beginning of another school year at Spokane Falls Community College, Eastern Washington University, and North Idaho College. You see, here at Helveticahaus, all of our profits go towards funding scholarships for design students at these three local schools. Every penny you spend goes towards helping a young designer achieve their dreams. But that’s not all. Our commitment to working with young designers goes beyond money. Take, for example, our new Hh Train Tt. It was designed by SFCC graphic design student Margeaux Kliewer, who started out in fine arts in Seattle but found that graphic design was a little more her style. She’s finishing up her degree at SFCC this year and is considering transferring to EWU next fall to continue her design education. She designed this wonderful shirt for us and we literally can’t take our eyes off of it. It’s students like Margeaux that inspire us to do what we do. So take a moment, snag a cool shirt, and know that you’ve done your part for the future of design.

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Helveticahaus Behind the Scenes

We recently made a music video. It’s pretty great. You should go watch it. No really, I’ll wait.

The video was super fun to make. We teamed up with local production house Mojo Lab and shot the whole thing over the weekend in beautiful downtown Spokane. Here’s a look behind the scenes.

We woke up super early to catch that beautiful morning light. We’re pretty sure it was worth it. 
Chris and Kevin shoot while CK art directs. Haley was such a trooper.
We waited in this alley for a train to pass, then Haley would run in front of the camera, do her thing, and we would repeat until we got it right.
Checking out the latest take. By the looks on their faces, this wasn’t the one.
For the final scene, Linda and Morgan wrapped shirts around a long packing tube and unrolled on cue, giving the illusion that the shirts were falling back down.
Here’s the whole crew (sans CK). Such a fun experience!
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Swiss National Day Feast – Helveticahaus Style




Today, in honor of Swiss National Day, we feasted. And oh what a feast it was. Linda brought cheese fondu with many dipping options including cute little pickles. Courtney proved to be the avocado champion with some seriously stellar guacamole and possibly the best chips money can buy. As if we would expect anything else from him, Aaron brought some sort of meat cylinders (landjaeger), which were both tasty and difficult to eat. Morgan attempted some traditional August-Weggen rolls, which were actually pretty fetching when topped with tiny Swiss flags. A crowd favorite was clearly Shirlee’s spicy, sweet bacon… I mean, just imagine. Oh, and there were donut holes. And polka music. And beer. All in all, it was a darn good feast.


A fraction of the spread before the feasting began.
As if our bellies weren’t already full of yeasty wheat, Linda brought beer!
You see donut holes, we see the alps.
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Roger Federer Meets Helveticahaus


Wie wir alle von unserem Blog über die Haas’sche Schriftgiesserei wissen ist die Schriftart Helvetica in Münchenstein, einem kleinen Ort im schweizer Norden mit einer Bevölkerung von 11.732 Menschen (Das ist weniger als die maximale Kapazität der Spokane Arena). Zusätzlich jedoch zu diesem typographischen Erbe ist Münchenstein ebenso die Heimatstadt vom Tennis Profi Roger Federer. Geboren ist Roger F. in Basel und im Alter von 10 Jahren ist er dann nach Münchenstein gezogen, wo er seine Glanzzeit verbracht hat.

Aus diesem Grund war unser Freund Yannick, als er dieses Jahr bei der BNP Paribas Open gearbeitet hat, entschlossen, mit Herrn Federer über die Helveticahaus Produkte und deren Erlöse zu sprechen, die eingesetzt werden, um Stipendien zu finanzieren. Roger war von der Idee begeistert und nachdem das Foto gemacht wurde schenkte Yannick HerrnFederer sein eigenes Helveticahaus T-shirt. Wenn du also gerade dein eigenes Hh T-shirt an hast, denke daran, dass du das gleiche T-shirt wie Roger Federer trägst.

As we all know from our blog on the Haas Type Foundry, Helvetica originated in Münchenstein, a little town in northern Switzerland with a population of 11,732 (that’s less than the max capacity of the Spokane Arena). But, in addition to its typographic heritage, Münchenstein is also the hometown of tennis pro Roger Federer. Born in Basel, Roger F. moved to Münchenstein at the age of 10, where he lived during his formidable years.

Which is why, when our friend Yannick was working the BNP Paribas Open this year, he was determined to speak to Mr. Federer about Helveticahaus’s products and how all proceeds go towards funding scholarships. Roger was delighted by the idea and, after this picture was taken, Yannick gifted Mr. Federer his very own Helveticahaus Tt. So, when you’re wearing your very own Hh Tt, know that you’re wearing the same shirt as Roger Federer.

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Helveticahaus Student Series

Here at Helveticahaus, we sell cool shirts featuring some pretty clever designs, but that’s just a means to an end. Our main goal is to raise enough money to provide scholarships for local design students. We love great design and want to encourage today’s youth to pursue an education in the graphic arts.

In order to connect with these up-and-coming designers, we reached out to Spokane Falls Community College and started a connection that would lead to the new Helveticahaus Student Series.

We asked SFCC’s 1st-year design students to design a T-shirt, a mini-poster, and a coaster for Helveticahaus. They had to work within our established branding, but were otherwise given free-reign to express Helvetica in whatever way they’d like. We visited the class a for critiques partway through the process to see what concepts they had come up with, but also to give some critical design guidance. Students were encouraged to design with a solid concept in mind, then push that concept to multiple mediums.


Here’s just a few of the student submissions.


Once complete, we hung the designs on a wall in our office and let the voting begin. Everyone in the Hh office voted for their top 3 Tt and top 3 poster designs. Our awesome leaders reviewed our votes, added their own, and and made the final call. Once the dust had settled, we had three winners and two runners-up.

Our art directors hard at work.


The ruunners-up were: DeAndre Barett for poster design, and Devin Harper for Tt design.

And the winners…

Congrats to Terri Porter for coaster design, Corri Woods for poster design, and Margeaux Kliewer for Tt design.

We are currently working with these students to finalize their designs and get them to print. Keep your eyes out for our new student-designed products coming soon!