If you’ve completed the latest update on your Apple mobile device, then you’re bound to notice the new (and, in my opinion, improved) integration of emojis in the Messages app. Sure, the emoji keyboard has been available since previous updates—big whoop, right? Well, now when you’re crafting that perfect text, if it contains a word that could be portrayed as an emoji, it automatically underlines. When you tap on that word, the appropriate emoji (along with options if available) takes its place!

For example, if I were to text someone, “How was the apple orchard this weekend? Probably not nearly as good as it could have been had I been able to go! Haha!” then both the apple and the Haha! will appear in red and underlined. If I tap them, then my text is transformed into, “How was the 🍎orchard this weekend? Probably not nearly as good as it could have been had I been able to go! 😂!” How great is that!?

As a fan of visual communication, I think emojis are👌. And apparently I’m not the only one, since the original emoji set, developed under the supervision of Shigetaka Kurita and released for cell phones in 1999, has been added to the Museum of Modern Art’s collection. Read more about the beginning—and also the impact—of this visual language that has become near and dear to my ❤, or if you’re feeling frisky, check out this realtime twitter emoji tracker.

Latest Hh Newsletter: New in the Shop


Just in time for the holidays, we teamed up with Spokane cartoonist, chess champion, and all-around nice guy David Rowles on a series of four exquisitely produced notecards, each of which features a unique Helvetica-inspired cartoon.

They’re fun, they’re witty, they’re perfect for every occasion – and for every person you know.

Like that impossible-to-please typophile who thinks the world would be a much better place if street signs were more appropriately kerned. Or that guy in accounting who thinks “sans serif” is a font. Heck – even your mom, who still has no idea what you do for a living, would appreciate the gesture.

These 6″ x 4½” beauties are not only hilarious, but also letterpress-printed in two colors on 100-lb. Classic Crest Eggshell Solar White Cover. And they come with matching Red Jupiter Metallic A6 envelopes.

Get yours now, while the jokes are still fresh.

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Latest Hh Newsletter: The Wait Is Over


First, there was Artist Series no. 1: Don Baker’s whimsical take on communication as multigenerational nourishment. Then it was Greg Holly’s inspired homage to Alexander Rodchenko and Herbert Matter in Artist Series no. 2.

You’ve probably been wondering how we could possibly keep this thing going.

We’re pleased to put those fears to rest with Artist Series no. 3: Irreducible simplicity as expressed by graphic designer, cartoonist, comic book illustrator, and creative director Sherwin Schwartzrock. His take on our favorite font is like nothing we’ve ever done – and it’s available right now in the Helveticahaus store.

Wait…why are you still here? Get shopping before they’re all gone!

(You can thank us later.)

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Rules Were Made to Be Broken

In the world of typography there’s a set of rules made not just to be followed, but also to be lived by. Like a religion. A lot of the visual rules are used in other art forms as well. For example, in painting, objects that are shown closer have a lot more detail and contrast than those shown farther away, giving the illusion of depth.

But what happens when these rules are broken? Putting dark text on dark backgrounds, morphing the text to be nearly illegible, or creating a mash of text that seems like it came from a ransom note: These are just some of the ways that the visual rules have been broken, especially in the psychedelic and punk era. Personally, I’m a huge fan of this style, but it’s not for everyone. The indecipherability of these two styles can just be a headache for some.

The same rules that are broken with these styles, however, can also be broken in a way that’s a little less “stick it to the man.” And it can be done very successfully, too. But it must be done with purpose. As with other rules you may want to break, there must be a reason for breaking them – as well as both a knowledge and a keen understanding of those rules.

This is the difference between a child’s preschool drawing that you hang on the fridge and a piece of art, worth thousands of dollars, that looks like it was done by a child. The artists know the rules and are breaking them with the understanding and knowledge that breaking them in a certain way will give them the effect/style they want.

With typography, it’s the difference between the poster for an upcoming punk rock show happening in a garage that was done by a friend of the band, compared to a poster for an upcoming event where the main purpose is to showcase art on the poster – and the information for the event is secondary.

For a much more in-depth look at these typographic rules compared to paintings, check out Jandos Rothstein’s article on printmag.com. And for more on the different ways of breaking those rules, here’s another, also by Rothstein.

Q&A with Our Winner

You probably know by now that we awarded our first inaugural Helveticahaus scholarship to the amazingly talented second-year SFCC student Isabel Heisler. And we’re guessing that, after reading her bio, you looked skyward, shook your fist at the cruel and indifferent universe, and shouted, “But I want to know more!” We did, too. So we locked Isabel in a windowless cell lit only by a single flickering fluorescent tube, and grilled her for four hours straight. Here’s the transcript of that interview:

Q: What’s your favorite font?
A: Is Helvetica too cliché?

Q: What’s your favorite punctuation mark?
A: I think “…”

Q: If you were a dash, which one would you be?
A: En.

Q: What’s your favorite color?
A: It’s pink, but a mature answer would be white.

Q: Favorite Adobe program right now?
A: InDesign.

Q: Shortcuts or mouse clicks?
A: Shortcuts for life.

Q: Pencil or pen?
A: PEN!!!!

Q: Digital or print?
A: Print.

Q: What’s your favorite food?
A: Steak. I’m from Brazil.

Q: Favorite Spokane neighborhood or street?
A: South Hill.

Q: Favorite pastime?
A: TV shows.

Q: Favorite sport?
A: Is ballet a sport? Yes it is.

Q: Favorite tree/flower/plant?
A: Light pink tulips or lavender.

Q: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
A: I don’t exist in the morning.

Q: If you were Queen of the World, what would be your first order of business?
A: Paint all buildings white. Just kidding…but not. [Editor’s note: There’s that “…” she likes so much.]

We’re excited for Isabel. After all, this is what Helveticahaus is all about. In fact, we’re guessing you’re feeling pretty great about your purchases right about now. What? You haven’t bought anything yet? Then be sure to swing by the shop on your way out.

Latest Hh Newsletter: We Have a Winner!


And the recipient of the first annual – not to mention highly coveted – Helveticahaus scholarship goes to…

Isabel Heisler!

Isabel, who hails from Londrina, Brazil, found herself in Spokane almost by accident. Not happy with the quality of education she was getting studying journalism back home, she Googled “communications schools,” which sent her to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. But the Chicago campus was full, so she ended up at the Spokane campus. An opportunity to design wedding invitations for some friends made her realize she had a knack for design, which naturally led her to SFCC – alma mater of Helveticahaus’ founders, CK and Linda Anderson.

According to the selection committee, every one of the applicants was thoughtful, talented, and smart. But Isabel’s commitment to furthering her education stood out. “It was easy to invest in someone like her,” said a spokesman.

Congratulations, Isabel.

Oh, and first-year students? Watch this space for your opportunity to win for the 2017–18 academic year.

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A Field of Orange

I couldn’t have been much more elated when my copy of Pretty Much Everything by Aaron Draplin finally showed up in the mail. Then, the “Everything Else” Enhancement Kit, or EEEK, showed up. And believe me, that’s the exact sound that squeaked out of me when I saw it. So without further comment, I give to you Pretty Much Everything and the EEEK.









If you want your own to see its beauty in person, you can order both the book and the kit from DDC.


Wednesday on twitter, I tweeted that Tootsie Rolls are “the perfect summer chocolate.” So today I will elaborate.

Imagine this… it’s September of 1880, you’re outdoors, maybe sitting in your rocking chair on a nice relaxing weekend. You’re eating chocolate and after a while it starts to melt and it’s getting everywhere. Suddenly, that delicious snack went from being enjoyable to a mess rivaling a two-year-old’s temper tantrum. Then, in the 1890’s a new chocolaty treat emerged. Behold, the humble Tootsie Roll. a scrumptious little treat with all of the chocolate flavor, without the melt in your hand mess. Watch out chocolate, there’s a new sheriff in town.


Leaving all the dramatics behind, what has caused this little delight to become so iconic? Is it the flavor, the shape, the size? I would it’s something else. The packaging for Tootsie Roll may seem simple (it’s just a waxy paper wrapped around a little chocolate log after all), but take a look at the font, Cooper Black. As Ellen Lupton (senior curator at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt) says, “ it’s a chewy, dark font that perfectly reflects the Tootsie Roll candy”. Of course there’s the colors as well. Anytime the combination of brown and red is seen together, people can’t help but be reminded of a Tootsie Roll. Want to find out if any of your favorite food packaging made this list, go here.

Maui Brewing Co. Gets a New Haircut

Rocket Market is one of my favorite places to shop in Spokane. Great wine selection, killer produce, and a wonderful selection of cake and pastries to top it off. They have a little of everything and everything they have is great. While walking the aisles last week, I was excited to find a beer can with a new haircut, as it’s one of my favorite beers.

Maui Brewing Co. rebranded with a 100 percent overhaul of look, feel, fonts, illustrations, everything. They threw out the bikini-clad hula girl and Hawaiian waves for a modern system of bright colors and well-chosen patterns. Though I will miss the old cans, the new are a fresh take on where beer branding has gone in such a short time (they were founded in 2005) and also a hint of what it will take in the future to stand out on the shelf.


Offered without further comment…

German typographer Erik Spiekermann, in an interview with Gary Hustwit for the documentary Helvetica (2007):

“There’s some stuff out there, done mostly by graphic designers, that has a nice, even, gray look to it. It’s this mythical thing that designers think it’s easy to read, because they don’t read. Most graphic designers don’t read, by and large. Graphic designers want everything to look nice and even—it’s like that saying about children, that they should be seen and not heard. And that type is to be looked at, not read. It’s indecipherable.”