Helvetica Neue vs. San Francisco: Can You Tell The Difference?

By on May 2, 2016 in Design Trends
Helvetica Neue vs. San Francisco: Can You Tell The Difference?

The Apple rumor mill is running rampant with the idea that Apple's new typeface, San Francisco, will begin replacing Helvetica Neue in both iOS and Mac OS. This has some designers up in arms. How could you abandon Helvetica for San Francisco? Apostasy! The question is, can you tell the difference between the two?

If you think you can, test your knowledge by taking our little quiz below. Fair warning, it gets pretty tricky near the end!

How'd You Do?

After you've taken the quiz, let us know your score in the comments below. And be honest!

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24 Comments

  1. ryantoyota

    91%. Although I feel like it should have been asking me which one was Helvetica Neue, as technically none of them were Helvetica. Did that bug anyone else? Or am I just being too nerdy? :P

    Also, I am 100% on board with a changeover to San Francisco. What I kept wondering, from a typographer’s point-of-view, is why on earth they would pick Helvetica or Helvetica Neue for a UI interface in the first place? There are so many better choices out there. I don’t know if I would say San Francisco is the best choice, but it’s definitely a better choice than Helvetica.

  2. danielfeary

    Agree with Ryan Toyota. Helvetica Neue was always a bad choice for the system typeface. Looking forward to San Francisco

  3. Ileane

    Ok I admit it I failed. I'm not that up on my knowledge of fonts. Where can I find the correct responses?

    Ryan - no you are not being too nerdy. You are good!

  4. jim.fisher

    10/12. I like Helvetica Neue much better for print and static graphics, but agree that San Francisco is a superior web font.

  5. ralph.winn

    ok, I didn't do so good. middle of the pack but it's been a while since I've been able to work with anything but Cachet and Verdana. [Y typefaces]. The bigger question is, why design a typeface that is so similar to Helvetica that is is nearly indistinguishable from Helvetica? Microsoft already did that with Ariel - [another ugly design] Let's move forward. If you're spending your resources on making something new for your os, then do new. end of rant.

  6. hlpkelly

    For some reason I don't see any quiz to take but I would just comment my point of view, Apple's eye was already to Helvetica it seems that the font wasn't good enough to fit in to its products, it's a marketing wise decision but then somehow San Francisco have made a slight difference than the older one that perhaps more qualified font to Apples product. I don't really know but its just my insight how company works in those kind of things.

  7. jzweig10

    91%. I didn't realize how similar the letterforms were until taking this quiz! I'm digging San Fransisco so far. Is anyone else familiar with the original San Fransisco font from Apple? ...it looked like a bunch of magazine clippings were cut out to create a ransom note or something. Seems odd that they would reuse the name for something so different.

  8. Lightime

    I'm just hoping the conflicts with my full sets of Helvetica Neue and the partial and different one in the system will be more easily solved without tweaks that mess up system display or such. Please.

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