OMG Arial

designworkplan / Typography and Fonts / Font Series: Arial is everywhere

Arial, a contemporary sans serif typeface by Robin Nicholas and Patricia Saunders designed for Monotype in 1982. If you are familiar with a computer you must know Arial, one the most used “standard” typefaces for “normal” computer usage.

Most professional designers and typophiles think of Arial as a copied typeface from Helvetica and while reading the The Scourge of Arial by Mark Simonson Studio I have realized this is in fact a true story.

The typeface became free with the release of Windows 3.1, which was a sales hit and Arial quickly gained spread around the globe. The main reason why Microsoft chose Arial as standard typeface is because of the license fee from the original Helvectia typeface by the Haas Foundry was too high. Missed change to educate the world about the wonderful Grotesk family.

Arial vs Helvetica

There are several glyps of the typefaces similar and some of them are different. Due the similarity Arial is often (unfortunately) mistaken for Helvetica, the differences between these two typefaces is explained in an article on iLT, both typefaces are shown next to each other making it easier to recognize.

Today Arial belongs to Monotype:

Arial is an extremely versatile family of typefaces which can be used with equal success for text setting in reports, presentations, magazines etc, and for display use in newspapers, advertising and promotions.

Without further due:

Arial is everywhere!

Arial is everywhere
Passing by an advertisement by a Dutch website about flight tickets, noticed the Arial Black at the top, when visiting the website also all other text is designed using Arial.

Advertisement sign

Arial is everywhere
Driving on the highway when I spotted the Arial here in this advertisement, it seems to be an German clothing company using Arial for their logo, the payoff of Gerry Weber seems to be in a Futura.

Thai cuisine

Arial is everywhere
Love the Thai cuisine and went to this small restaurant in Amsterdam, the window signs and menu is done using the type Arial Black.

Highway truck

Arial is everywhere
Another highway shot taking while driving… Here is a clear usage of Arial Black italic for the logo and text.


Arial is everywhere
A large Dutch internet company is using Arial for the illuminated signs, at first I was mislead, Mirabeau* using Arial? I only really recognized it by the letter “R”, visiting the website it seems they have changed the typeface of the logo.

Clearing out the garage

Arial is everywhere
Throwing away old stuff… And found a small travel raincoat. Used typeface Arial Black.


Arial is everywhere
Say again… Swarzkopf is using Arial? My wife bought something to color hair and while brushing my teeth I couldn’t believe my eyes. Quickly went to the store and yes… Swarzkopf is using Arial!

Tommy Hillfiger

Arial is everywhere
Yet another large company is using Arial, this time I found a print on my wife her shoebox all lettering is using the typeface Arial.

Kaldi Koffie

Arial is everywhere
This is actually one of the few brand where they consistently use Arial for all their visual communications. This Dutch Coffee shop uses Arial for their logo, text and shopping branding.

Vehicle signage

Arial is everywhere
Waiting for the light to turn green, just had enough time to take this photo. This van has some lettering done using typeface Arial.

Hotel signs

Arial is everywhere
Went skiing about two weeks ago and never have I seen that much usage of Arial. Here the hotel used Arial for the name of the hotel and the text.

Getting up the mountains

Arial is everywhere
Most of the ski lift in this area (Ischl, Austria) uses Arial as typeface for the name of the ski lift.

Sun terras

Arial is everywhere
Unfortunately we didn’t have a sunny weather, but when there is you can visit the sun terras. On the doors is placed with etch foil the text “Sonnenterrasse” in German language.

Ski rental

Arial is everywhere
This shop used Arial for all the visual communication, not to mention that in this small village there where three of these shops… Arial is everywhere!


Arial is everywhere
Getting back and filling out some forms for the government, in Holland there are ways to fill out forms using a digital signature, called DigiD. I noticed the usage of Arial at the top of this letter. Hopefully this will change towards to new brand identity of the Dutch government.


Arial is everywhere
The packages send using UPS are using Arial on their sticker, all information is printed using Arial.

For sale sign

Arial is everywhere
Due the credit crisis many houses are for sale in Amsterdam, the broker puts op V-shape signs with the information “For Sale”, this broker also uses Arial Black for their name.

Design shop

Arial is everywhere
Everyday I drive pass by this furniture shop in Amsterdam, the sell luxury design furniture, but all the typeface use is Arial Black.

Plummer company

Arial is everywhere
This is a large pluming company is Amsterdam, they use Arial Black for their logo and other forms of visual communication.

Bike bag

Arial is everywhere
Walking down the streets and spotted this printed bike bag which they use to distribute flyers, typeface used Arial.

License plate holder

Arial is everywhere
Spotted this one many, many, many times. A license plate holder for Dutch cars, most of them use Arial to display the name of the garage.

Vehicle signs

Arial is everywhere
This plummer company uses Arial for their logo and text, designed with icons.

Local coffee bar

Arial is everywhere
This local cafe uses Arial Black for their logo on the window, also the opening hours and other text is displayed in Arial.

Availability of typeface Arial


From Identifont:
Designers: Robin Nicholas and Patricia Saunders
Year: 1990-92
Copyright: Monotype Classic Fonts
Publisher: Monotype
A TrueType version of this font is provided free with Microsoft Office (Macintosh).

More information at Linotype.


Arial is also a typeface family comprising standard Arial (Arial Std) and variants, including Arial Black, Bold, Extra Bold, Condensed, Italic, Light, Medium, Monospaced, Narrow, and Rounded. See here for more information at wikipedia.

So tell me…

This typeface is everywhere! Please share and tell me did you have your Arial today?

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