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Haettenschweiler sample coloured.tiff
Category Sans-serif
Classification Realist sans-serif
Designer(s) Walter Haettenschweiler
Foundry Microsoft

Haettenschweiler is a realist sans-serif typeface based on an uppercase metal-cast type called Schmalfette Grotesk (German for bold condensed sans-serif). The face is named for Walter Haettenschweiler, who with Armin Haab, published the book Lettera which uses Schmalfette Grotesk. Microsoft's history of the font notes that after Lettera was published the design 'was immediately picked up by designers at Paris Match who cut up pictures of it to make headlines' until it was publicly released.

Haettenschweiler is often compared with Helvetica Inserat and Impact. Haettenschweiler has narrower characters than Impact. The uppercase R has a curved tail similar to that in the Helvetica family. Counters are minimal and normally fully enclosed, a common feature of Grotesk typefaces. This type of design has been criticised for having low legibility in smaller point sizes, with low contrast between background and text colours, or at a distance, with (for example) 8 and 9 seeming very similar.

The face is installed with Microsoft Office products. It is used in the Nottingham Forest logo, with a modified R and a lowercase E at upper-case height; it is also used for the Solace Systems logo. A 2010 Princeton University study involving presenting students with text in a font slightly more difficult to read found that they consistently retained more information from material displayed in so-called disfluent or ugly fonts (Monotype Corsiva, Haettenschweiler, Comic Sans Italicized were used) than in a simple, more readable font such as Arial.[1]


  • Haettenschweiler, Walter and Armin Haab. Lettera 4: a standard book of fine lettering. Hastings House, 1972.


  1. ^ Diemand-Yauman, C.; Oppenheimer, D. M.; Vaughan, E. B. (2011). "Fortune favors the bold (and the italicized): Effects of disfluency on educational outcomes". Cognition 118 (1): 111–5. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2010.09.012. PMID 21040910.  edit

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