Neue Haas Unica

Monotype breathes new life into the Haas Unica typeface family

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A reimagined version of the Haas Unica® typeface, dormant since the era of phototypesetting, has been brought to life as the 18-font Neue Haas Unica™ typeface family, the newest release from Monotype.

Monotype’s Toshi Omagari of the Monotype Studio has given this classic a fresh, digital facelift with more weights, more languages and more letters to meet today’s digital and print needs for a variety of applications including corporate branding, signage, books, magazines, packaging, fashion and more.

Omagari has transformed the Unica™ design into a rich, modern version, true to its original intent as a Helvetica® typeface alternative that also draws on influences from the Univers® typeface. Bringing forward the ideals of its inspirations, Neue Haas Unica is both familiar and refreshingly unique.

The long-lost typeface love child of Helvetica and Univers

The story of Haas Unica begins in the late 1970s, when Helvetica and Univers were already highly popular, in use for nearly 20 years. Designers were well aware of the strengths, weaknesses and best uses of each. It was also a time when phototypesetting matured as the preferred method for setting type, and fonts were developed to take advantage of this technology.

In 1980, the Haas Type Foundry seized the opportunity to create a design that fulfilled the vision for a phototypesetting typeface based on key attributes of Helvetica and Univers. Designed by Team ’77, the new hybrid – Haas Unica – hit the sweet spot, with a look that was less formal than Univers and less mannered than Helvetica, yet still sophisticated, clean and versatile.

However, Haas Unica found only limited success, due mostly to the industry’s transition to desktop publishing in the 1980s, which rendered phototypesetting obsolete. While both Helvetica and Univers were updated for digital use, Unica was sidelined – until now.

Neue Haas Unica typeface family

In comparison to Helvetica, the spacing of Haas Unica was increased slightly and the letters have been carefully designed so as to be narrower. Letters with large curves like “b” or “d” in this way appear more attractive and lighter. Significant changes were made to the small “a”; the curve on the upper loop was shaped so as to be more round and the extended foot was pulled in somewhat. The “k” has a new shape; its limbs are no longer offset, but rather attach to the stem, and the tail of the capital “J” was shortened in order to suppress the large space created by that of Helvetica.


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On April 9, 2015

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