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For a while now, I've been thinking about a regular blog feature called "What's the Difference" wherein I'll explain the differences between two similar things. I thought I had done one years ago on this blog's ancestor the Utterly Sputter about the differences between alligators and crocodiles, but I can't find it now, so maybe I only thought about writing it.

With any luck, this will be the beginning of a new era of regular blog features. What's the Difference, installment one. Helvetica & Arial.

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Arial is the Microsoft clone of Helvetica. They are extremely similar, but you can tell them apart with a few letters.

This article lays it out for your clearly. Once you've studied, or if you prefer, before you study, you can quiz yourself.


  1. Kai Carver said...
    good post.
    I got 9/10 on the quiz after reading the article.
    I like fonts a lot but knowing them by name and identifying them is too hard for me.
    Here's a not terribly interesting "what's the difference" contribution:
    What's the difference between the French sporting goods chains Decathlon and Go Sport?
    Answer: Go Sport sells designer brands, like Nike, while Decathlon develops their own brands.
    I could never tell the difference between the two stores. To me they were like Coke and Pepsi or Hertz and Avis. Then one day I was at Decathlon speaking to some salesmen and I asked, "Do you have this product at other Go Sport stores"? They looked at me like I was an idiot. It got worse when I said I couldn't tell the difference. Finally one guy charitably explained to me that Decathlon is more technical and sells their own products, while Go Sport is the place to go if you want designer brands. He did well to tell me, since now I always go to Decathlon if I can. I'm generally not interested in designer brands, which I figure are more expensive, since they have to pay millions to Michael Jordan and the like.
    tracy said...
    I got 9 / 10, too.

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