Yeah, we all know Arial is just a cheap Helvetica rip-off. And we have our ways to spot that. But only recently I noticed that non-character glyphs in Arial may be even worse. Just look at the 1 and 2 or the quotation mark “.
But what about other not-that-frequent glyphs? While Helvetica’s ß may fit in better with the rest of the typeface, I like the general shape of Arial’s ß better. And what about the percentage sign: Would you prefer 50% or 50%?
Due to very large doses of font substitution in the early Mac 512 + LaserWriter + MacWrite days, I’m quite allergic to Helvetica. At least when substituted for the then wonderful Geneva bitmap font. Nah, it is not that bad. I just get these flashbacks. Helvetica is indeed very nice.
But anyway, checking how Helvetica and Arial presents some of the more exotic, but perfectly natural, danish letters ÆØÅ, I must say that the representation in Arial is a disgrace: the ring above in Å should not touch the letter A below. Imagine that the dot touched the “i”. Hmm, some variations appears to get it; the Arial Narrow from Monotype for one. Unfortunately these kind of problems are not isolated to the Arials of this world as the Lucida family also suffer in this regard.
I guess the world of fonts needs more of us “international” folks :-)