Scher Makes Up With Helvetica?

Written by Stephen Coles on August 28, 2007


I have mixed feelings about these free business templates Paula Scher just designed for HP. On one hand, she’s helping to improve the look of small business — a landscape dominated by clumsy MS Word and Publisher templates. On the other, she’s contributing to the false notion that you don’t really need a relationship with a skilled designer to create your identity: beautiful letterheads and business cards tailored to your company can just come straight out of the computer with no professional input at all.

But what puzzles me most is why Scher chose Helvetica for two of the five templates. She seems to avoid it in her own work, and hated on it pretty openly in the Helvetica film, in which she called it the typeface of the conservative establishment and (jokingly) the cause of the Vietnam and Iraq wars.

Perhaps it’s her subversive way of saying that if you’re a business that uses templates for your identity, you are part of the establishment. So, here, have Helvetica — it fits you.