So you think you can tell Arial from Helvetica?

helvetica arial quiz

David Friedman took 20 Helvetica logos, redid them in Arial (blasphemy!), and made a quiz out of it to help people hone their ability to differentiate them in a hands-on way.

38 Comments leave a comment below

  1. 10 out of 10. Though I think I got lucky on the Matel logo.

  2. That was more fun then I expected.

    The only one I couldn’t get was Mattel, the all caps and conjoined T’s made it come down to slight weight differences.

    an easy trick is just look at the end of strokes, Helvetica always ends horizontal or vertical never at an angle.

  3. 20/20!

    Too easy though. Theres a few letters that just give it away.

  4. 20/20
    Great fun to go through… but I’m sure I would know a few people who wouldn’t see the difference no matter how many times you showed them. At least he didn’t go “Verdana” on the logos!

  5. 19/20. Missed Toyota.

    and Moeed is right – the first thing I look for is the terminals, and 99% of the time that settles it. Rs are obvious give aways too.

    still fun, I wonder how non-designers do. :)

  6. Yeah, lots of fun ;). Was it only my version that showed Helvetica always the second option? That made it extremely easy after a while… :))

  7. whoops, well, I am a non designer who loves design and I made it 11 out of 20. I even missed on Target (a little humiliating). I went back and tried it a second time, and wasn’t any more successful….just goes to show that the real designers really know their stuff, and pay attention to the details that no one else sees. At least the details the rest of us don’t think we see. But the details are what makes the difference between functional and good and functional and elegant.

  8. 19 out of 20

    missed mattel. =(

  9. 20 out of 20, and I haven’t done design work in years. Just a fan.

  10. 19/20. Mattel kicked my ass.

    But what I found most interesting about the quiz was the scores coming from non-creatives. Almost all of my friends scored 20/20. They only knew enough to tell that Helvetica “looked better”, so they would select the logos that looked better.

    Even with being analytical I couldn’t get a perfect…

  11. You answered 20 out of 20 questions correctly. Woehoe!

  12. 20/20

    Mattel was sort of luck, but since I couldn’t go with which letters had straight strokes, I went with which looked “rounder”. As in, which one fit better with the nice round Helvetic “O”.

  13. You answered 20 out of 20 questions correctly.
    Wow! I know more Helvetica than i thought so.
    I waste almost 2 minutes looking Mattel logo.

  14. Glad to know I wasn’t the only one that had a hard time with Mattel. I think the slightly heavier weight is what threw us off.
    I’d like to see this same quiz aimed at non-professionals with the query changed changed to picking the font that looks better.

  15. The only way I got mattel and toyota was by which one looked better. Checked out the kerning mostly to see which looked the most even. Barely got 20/20, almost got 18/20. Mostly easy because of the horizontal caps (think thats what they’re called) in helvetica.

  16. 19/20 as well… damn you MATTEL! They’re basically identical when they’re all caps with just those letters. Only a slight difference in the thickness on the M.

    If I were setting up a test/quiz like this I’d probably put one in where the two answers are actually the same font, and make it so that they’re both wrong – just to mess with people.

  17. 19/20 (MATTEL was tricky)
    But the real question is : “Would you be able to recognize Arial without Helvetica version to compare it with?”

    PS: I suppose Tina made 20/20 without thinking, didn’t she? :)

  18. 17/20 …. MATTEL … really? ;)

  19. 18/20, missed Mattel and Toyota.. didn’t recognized the rounder “O” arrr :)
    As Simone said, it would have been harder without comparison specially on all uppercase logotypes missing letters “C” “G” “R” “S”

  20. 19 out of 20… Mattel caught me out! doh!

  21. 20 / 20


  22. great quiz. Sadly 19/20 though. I got mattel but Toyota got me…

  23. its all about the “t” and “a” one just has the slanty swager..

  24. “…“t” and “a” … has the slanty swager”


  25. look for the horizontal/vertical terminals

  26. I have no idea how it happened…but I missed National…I rocked MATTEL but missed National…how could this be?

    This was super amusing though. great way to start the day!

  27. The superimposed tutorial Tina posted the other day helped this non-designer do well. But darn you, Mattel!

  28. 18 out of 20 questions correctly I missed the stupid STAPLES and MATTEL but, i got all the rest correct.

  29. The TOYOTA one i missed. It’s pretty easy, looking at the ends: square or on a slight angle… ( For the difficult ones: look for the artifacts in the original ;-)

  30. 19/20!

    Mattel screwed me too! :(

  31. That was fun! The r is such a give away in Arial.
    I actually preferred the CVS pharmacy logo and Staples logo in Arial

  32. I just watched the documentary “Helvetica” last night so this was a great challenge! Only one wrong (Mattel) – woohoo!

  33. 20/20 … he he…. Mattel gave me a really hard time. sort of luck there. Really fun …. looking for an update

  34. 19/20… mattel…..

  35. Never would have thougth to get 20 out of 20….
    Mattel was a really difficult one.

    Great quiz!

  36. 19/20 MATTEL got me too….

  37. why is this not in the category typography?
    (i use categories a lot on your blog to find inspiration on specific topics.. – thx!)