Since the 1960s, IBM have favoured Helvetica as their favoured type family – until now. Mike Abbink, Executive Creative Director of Brand Experience and Design at IBM, along with an in-house team have developed a completely new type family to replace Helvetica across the IBM’s visual identity. Say hello to IBM Plex.

Getting Back on Track

IBM initially chose Helvetica as their global type family at the beginning of the computing era, which was considered to be “the future” (we can’t argue with that!). Now in 2018, Helvetica is the most popular corporate typeface on the planet and computing technology has taken over – the future is here! But what does this mean for IBM? Has their initial ambitious, modernist story been obscured? Maybe. IBM Plex aims to regain its typeface mojo with the release of a new, mechanical-inspired typeface that has the flexibility of Helvetica but the personality of IBM.

“Asking why a typeface matters is like asking why a tie matters.”

Mike Abbink, 2017

Introducing IBM Plex

IBM has been in the making for over 2 years, and we can see why – It’s comprehensive and full of flavour. IBM need a typeface that can go across the board: packaging, print, digital and online, so IBM Plex comes in 3 styles (sans, sans-serif and mono-sans) each with 8 line weights, in homage to the eight-bar IBM logo.

IBM Plex

What Do We Think?

Yes. We love it. We’ve even incorporated IBM Plex into our branding at AMP. The mechanical, tech-inspired, super usable type family is perfect for a group of nerdy designers and developers like us (they even designed a mono-sans so we can have a pretty new typeface to develop with!). We love new technology at AMP and think our story shares similarities to that of IBM.

IBM Plex is Free to Use!

Yes, IBM have open-sourced their new typeface, so head over to the IBM Plex Github page and try it out for yourself.