“IBM is no stranger to icons. Over the years, it’s created quite a few: the mainframe computer, the ThinkPad laptop, the Selectric typewriter, the Eye-Bee-M logo,” Diana Budds reports for Co.Design. “The company hopes its new bespoke typeface IBM Plex, which launched in beta this week (though the official version won’t be released until early 2018), could become just as iconic–a kind of Helvetica for this century.”
““When I came to IBM, it was a big discussion: Why does IBM not have a bespoke typeface? Why are we still clinging on to Helvetica?” Mike Abbink, the typeface’s designer and IBM’s executive creative director of brand experience and design, says in a video explainer,” Budds reports. “‘The way we speak to people and the conversations we need to have and we’d like to have, is that still the right way to express ourselves? We should really design a typeface that really reflects our belief system and make it relevant to people now. Helvetica is a child of a particular sect of modernist thinking that’s gone today.'”
“The Plex family includes a sans serif, serif, and monospace versions,” Budds reports. “The designers also created a rigorous style guide that’s akin to a digital standards manual and includes a type scale, which plays into responsive displays; eight different weights (a nod to how the IBM logo is composed of eight horizontally stacked bars); and usage guidelines, which dive into everything from information hierarchies to color and ragging. All together, it’s easy to see Plex as a gentler, friendlier, more casual Helvetica for a broad range of uses both digital and print-based.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: IBM says, “IBM Plex is open source, and should be used by IBMers for all typographical situations, replacing Helvetica Neue, whenever possible.”
IBM has made IBM Plex available for anyone to download and use for free. More info and download link here.