Fonts Similar to Helvetica

Helvetica is one of the most well known fonts in the world, but other typefaces like Helvetica do exist. Our chosen alternatives are listed below.

Last checked: 12th October 2023

Fonts Like Helvetica

  1. Univers
  2. Akzidenz-Grotesk
  3. Avenir
  4. Proxima Nova
  5. Nexa
  6. Roboto

Making its first appearance in 1957 courtesy of Swiss typeface designers Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann, Helvetica swiftly rose to become one of the most widely used sans-serif typefaces. It was a creation of the Haas Type Foundry and quickly built a reputation for being the epitome of Swiss precision and simplicity.

But does Helvetica deserve its neutral or even 'bland' reputation?

As a chosen typeface for numerous corporate identities, from Apple to American Airlines (both of which have since moved on), and for various public signage systems, such as the New York City subway, it might seem that Helvetica has been overused over the years. However, it's worth remembering that Helvetica wasn't consciously over-selected.

Helvetica's dominance largely arose because it was the default option on many printing and digital systems, making it the path of least resistance. As a result, a sense of monotony came to be associated with it, and it's often branded as a typeface that designers resort to rather than actively choose.

Yet, in its defense, Helvetica is an undeniably effective font. Its clean, crisp lines make for excellent readability, making it an ideal choice for corporate brochures, logos, and typesetting. Its variants, such as Helvetica Neue, offer a range of weights and styles, providing a surprisingly versatile palette for designers to work with.

Nevertheless, Helvetica is often viewed as the "standard neutral" typeface that neither clients nor designers gravitate towards unless necessary. Despite its clean and minimalistic appeal, many seek out alternative fonts that maintain the same clarity but offer a touch of difference.

Over the years, we've explored a range of typefaces that have a similar look and feel to Helvetica while offering a fresh perspective.

Here's our list of typefaces similar to Helvetica:


Univers is our top pick when it comes to a typeface similar to Helvetica. Designed by Adrian Frutiger, it presents a clean, modern, and neutral sans-serif option. Just like Helvetica, Univers boasts a broad range of weights, which allows it to be highly versatile in usage. Its design is slightly different with more pronounced horizontal lines, but its spirit remains the same - functionality and simplicity at its finest.


As one of the fonts that inspired Helvetica, Akzidenz-Grotesk shares several similarities with it. Designed by Berthold Type Foundry, it is often considered the original sans-serif typeface. Despite being different in small design details, its overall impression is remarkably like Helvetica. It presents a straightforward, unpretentious look that can suit an array of design projects.


Avenir, another masterpiece from Adrian Frutiger, merges the sleekness of geometric typefaces with the organic readability of humanist designs. Avenir and Helvetica both present an aesthetic that is crisp and modern. The key difference lies in Avenir's distinct touches, such as its slightly squared round shapes, which offers a unique alternative to Helvetica's rounded design.

Proxima Nova

Proxima Nova marries modern geometric style with humanist characteristics, bearing a design concept similar to Helvetica. Designed by Mark Simonson, it's characterised by the same uniform stroke width and roundness. However, it incorporates more pronounced round shapes and a more geometric approach, establishing its place as a distinct yet close match to Helvetica.


Nexa, designed by Fontfabric, offers a more geometric take on the sans-serif genre. It preserves the clean lines and excellent legibility of Helvetica but infuses more character into its form. Nexa’s curves are slightly sharper, giving it a more contemporary edge and serving as a different yet comparable option.


Roboto, created by Christian Robertson for Google, is the closest free match of Helvetica in terms of appearance and ethos. It showcases a dual nature, marrying mechanical skeleton and geometric forms with open curves and a friendly appearance. This balance makes Roboto an excellent alternative to Helvetica, especially for digital design.


While Helvetica holds a steady position in the world of typography, these six alternatives are testament to the fact that a world of similar yet uniquely nuanced typefaces exists out there. Each of them, with their distinct characteristics, can offer a fresh perspective while maintaining the clarity, simplicity, and effectiveness that Helvetica is renowned for. Whether you're in pursuit of a different approach or seeking to preserve the spirit of Helvetica with subtle variations, these typefaces make for nice alternatives.

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