Dribbble goes back to Helvetica

6 years ago from , Designer at Robin Powered, does New Old Stock

Dribbble has gone back to Helvetica after they commissioned that custom Proxima Nova. Interesting.

Helvetica Dribbble evidence


  • Suganth SSuganth S, almost 6 years ago

    Thank god

    12 points
  • Cole Townsend, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    Well that upload didn't work...

    Dribbble goes back to Helvetica

    7 points
  • Jon LJon L, 6 years ago


    Such a meta headline.

    I laughed.

    5 points
  • Louis-André LabadieLouis-André Labadie, almost 6 years ago

    Maybe licensing woes? Dribbble have a pretty high pageview count per month. Surely it costs them a few thousand per year to use Proxima. Sometimes it's not worth it.

    It's like when Twitter tried out Gotham. They probably have several billion views per month. H&FJ now license web fonts only through Cloud.typography. I'm pretty sure their CDN can't handle this traffic, and on top of that, the pricing would be completely insane.

    4 points
    • Ed AdamsEd Adams, almost 6 years ago (edited almost 6 years ago )

      They were using Proxima Nova Dribbble, a variant of Proxima Nova that they had commissioned therefore (most likely) owned the rights to. Also, Proxima Nova (the vanilla variant) is available on Typekit which isn't nearly as expensive as Cloud.typography.

      In my opinion, they switched back because Proxima Nova Dribbble was a bit off. Uppercase characters looked bigger than lowercase and it was all a bit ugly so far as I was concerned.

      Edit: removed bit about Typekit being unlimited. It's not.

      3 points
  • Zethus SuenZethus Suen, 6 years ago

    my japanese emoji's work again. woohoo ヘ(= ̄∇ ̄)ノ

    4 points
  • Martin Wright, almost 6 years ago

    My money is on performance impact – they saw the numbers and rolled-back the webfonts.

    2 points
  • Thomas OffingaThomas Offinga, almost 6 years ago

    It's so weird to see this changed back all of a sudden. The entire interface feels a bit off now. The font sizes seem a bit out of sync or something?

    1 point
  • Ethan Clark, almost 6 years ago

    Their blog is still using Proxima Nova Dribbble.

    1 point
  • Juho RantakariJuho Rantakari, almost 6 years ago

    What's up with this? It's just like what Twitter did a while back when they experimented with Gotham on their website and then quickly reverted back. I would rather like to see nice typefaces rather than the defaults.

    1 point
    • Aaron MoodyAaron Moody, almost 6 years ago

      Surely you didn't think that Proxia worked well for dribbble? Helvetica is so much nicer in this use case.

      2 points
      • Juho RantakariJuho Rantakari, almost 6 years ago

        Heh, you actually caught me red-handed, I didn't get to see the Proxima Nova in action. :) Being such a (blind) type enthusiast I'm just rooting for custom solutions and typefaces everywhere I see them.

        1 point
        • Aaron MoodyAaron Moody, almost 6 years ago

          Ahh I see. It was nice in places, but horrible in others :( It is a shame, I agree default isn't great but glad they reverted back. Might just be a case of testing some other alternatives :)

          0 points
  • Gabriel GhnassiaGabriel Ghnassia, almost 6 years ago

    Well, I don't know if it's about expenses, about readability, or even about identity. Sure Proxima is readable, but let's face it, in terms of readability on screen, I still haven't seen a font face as readable as the helvetic' one.

    Now, there is something else coming: The identity of dribbble becomes way stronger with Proxima. Maybe too much. The neutrality of Helvetica make the shots the main (and only?) item that has importance on the screen.

    In any case, going back in UI design isn't a proof of failure, it's the opposite.

    0 points
    • Mike MaiMike Mai, almost 6 years ago

      Source Sans Pro is lovely for screen reading. :)

      1 point
    • Kyle BavenderKyle Bavender, almost 6 years ago

      but let's face it, in terms of readability on screen, I still haven't seen a font face as readable as the helvetic' one.

      You must not have seen many fonts, then.

      Between its need for kerning attention, the indistinguishability of certain characters, the closed counters, Helvetica was clearly not designed for body copy reading — paper or screen.


      Also, a totally separate, more theoretical/philosophical question: the "neutrality" of Helvetica — what makes Helvetica actually "neutral"? Does Helvetica not have a personality? To me, through its uniformity & homogeneity of letterform it does have a personality — clean, but at times a bit dry/boring. Plastic.


      All this said, I don't mean to be bashing Helvetica (at worst a fantastic study in uniformity, at best a triumph of uniformity for headlines) or Dribbble. Just musing a bit on appropriation.

      4 points