Bad architecture is in the end as much a failure of psychology as of design. It is an example expressed through materials of the same tendencies which in other domains will lead us to marry the wrong people, choose inappropriate jobs and book unsuccessful holidays: the tendency not to understand who we are and what will satisfy us.
Helvetica began life in 1957 as Neue Haas Grotesk, a comprehensive modernization of Akzidenz Grotesk from 1898. It was conceived by Eduard Hoffmann and executed by Max Miedinger for the Haas foundry in Münchenstein, near Basel, and renamed Helvetica (an amended form of Helvetia, the Latin name for Switzerland) in 1960. It was licensed to other larger foundries, Stempel of Frankfurt and then Mergenthaler Linotype, and from the mid-1960s it began to gain a reputation overseas, particularly among the design executives on Madison Avenue. The range of weights was restricted initially to light and medium, but when italic, bold, and others were added, the face we recognize today began to colonize the world.