Our second release from Berlin-based LudwigType is the sans-serif Helsinki, a family inspired by Finnish road signs. Ludwig Übele designed the initial first style during a long winter in the North of Finland in 1998. Like other classic wayfinding typefaces such as Highway Gothic or DIN, the Finnish signs feature rather crude, constructed letterforms. Attracted by its unaffected charm, Übele developed the font into a family of seven weights, balancing out its kinks but maintaining the vernacular nature. In 2013 he expanded the character set, revised the weight range and added italics.
Helsinki is a typeface of narrow proportions. The light styles are optimized for text sizes down to 10px, while the bold and black weights are geared for high-octane headlines of a contemporary spirit. It suits retail and editorial sites, as well as user interfaces (as in the celebrated weather app Partly Cloudy). Helsinki is a great alternative to typefaces like DIN or Interstate. If you want to combine it with a Serif, try the sturdy Freight Micro, Ibis RE or Proforma.
For OpenType-savvy browsers such as Internet Explorer 10+, Chrome 22+, and Firefox 4+, you can make use of Helsinki’s stylistic alternates — for instance a “potbelly-shaped” a, double-story g, a J with vertical terminal, and a Q with simplified tail (Stylistic Set 01). Also available are a tabular 1 with serif, and a slashed 0. These can be accessed in CSS3 via feature-settings like in this sample set of CSS-rules:
-moz-font-feature-settings: "ss01=1, "tnum=1", zero=1"; -moz-font-feature-settings: "ss01" 1, "tnum" 1, "zero" 1; -ms-font-feature-settings: "ss01" 1, "tnum" 1, "zero" 1; -webkit-font-feature-settings: "ss01" 1, "tnum" 1, "zero" 1; -o-font-feature-settings: ""ss01" 1, "tnum" 1, "zero" 1; font-feature-settings: "ss01" 1, "tnum" 1, "zero" 1;Feature-settings: Stylistic Set 1 (ss01), Tabular Figures (tnum), Slashed-Zero (zero)
As with all fonts on Webtype, Helsinki can be tested free of charge for 30 days. For more details, see the Helsinki webfont page and make sure to pay LudwigType’s neat little demo site a visit to see the fonts in action.