Like most countries Finland uses for the official road signs a typeface created by engineers. Designed with a ruler and compass, industrial practicability is preferred over aesthetic demands. Despite this, or maybe just because of this, the typeface exerts a certain charm. This may be due to the structure obtained by the consistent mathematical clarity and a certain bulkiness of the forms that give them character and originality.
Geometrically constructed fonts like the Finnish road sign typeface are composed of circles and rectangles without regard to optical rules. In my interpretation, on one hand I tried to keep as much as possible of the original constructed character. On the other hand, to satisfy my demands on readability and aesthetics. In the first version, which I designed more than 15 years ago, I kept pretty close to the original. The new version is optically more balanced, without losing the specific character of the typeface. A lot of details were changed to make it more pleasant for the human eye.
Helsinki fonts contain various OpenType features, which provide advanced typographic performance and can be accessed by almost all professional layout software.
Helsinki fonts contain alternate characters, accessible via Stylistic Sets 01 or Stylistic Alternates.
Case Sensitive Forms
When the ‘change to caps’ function is applied from within an application (not when text is typed in caps) appropriate case-sensitive forms are automatically applied. Regular brackets, parentheses, dashes and hyphens are replaced with their capital forms.
Tabular figures are for use in tables where numerals need to be aligned vertically. Tabular figures are available as an OpenType feature and have a fixed width in all weights.
To avoid confusion between a zero and the ‘O’ character, a slashed zero glyph is available.
Superscript / superiors
Replaces all figures and lowercase letters with their superior alternates, which can be used for footnotes, formulas, etc.
Subscript / inferiors
Replaces all figures and lowercase letters with their inferior alternates, used primarily for mathematical or chemical notation.
Helsinki fonts already include a number of pre-designed diagonal fractions. The fraction feature allows you to create other fractions quickly and easily.