In a message dated 11/21/2003 10:05:48 AM Eastern Standard Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:
Who designed Arial and when? Why is it so-o-o similar to Helvetica? Was
it designed specifically for DTP and web use? Was it intended to be a
"better" Helvetica? Or just sufficiently different from Helvetica that
it would not provoke patent or copyright litigiation when bundled with
No inside knowledge, but inasmuch as typeface names can be protected legally,
whereas letterform designs cannot in the US; I would expect that Microsoft
commissioned Monotype (or Monotype already had done so) to create a competitive
face with a different name so that it could offer a version of Helvetica
without having to pay royalties to the owners of that name (Linotype).
Slight variations in design would also provide a shield in Europe and other
places where actual font designs can be copyrighted. Appears much like the
strategy extensively used by Alphatype, Compugraphic, VariTyper and others in the
days before desktop typesetting.