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Filed under Fonts, Logos.

A Timeless Font like Papyrus

Note: This is the first post on the new blog by Paul, one of our talented designers, and the illustrator who did this

Ever since a client asked me to change the Helvetica font in her logo to “something more timeless like Papyrus”, I’ve been thinking about this. More timeless than Helvetica? I should be used to requests like this by now. After all, clients don’t always use terms like “timeless” the same way a designer does. It’s like asking to re-typeset a book, changing it from that new-fangled, flash-in-the pan Caslon font to something classic like Umbra. So I tried it…



I began seeing the world in a whole new light. What if all the logos that used Helvetica were “updated” to the font Papyrus? How would the world look?






American Airlines would have to change their entire website.







Better or worse? You decide.


  1. Natalia

    The car logos seem to look a bit better with Papyrus, not so “stuck up” and “you can’t afford me!” feel.

  2. Rob

    Natalia, I think the point is that BMW wants a logo that says “you can’t afford me.” This sends an important message to its customers as well as anyone who aspires to drive a BMW. It’s not just a car, it’s a performance machine. BMW might send that message with a font other than Helvetica, but it won’t be papyrus.

  3. Paul

    I think companies use Helvetica because it IS transparent and timeless. By transparent, I mean it doesn’t try to be cute or create a style, it’s just instantly readable and honest. It worked for BMW, because text on an arch will be read a few milliseconds slower than straight text, so it needs to be understood more quickly.

    Papyrus is everything Helvetica is not, now that I think about it. It takes longer to read, and tries to invoke ancient pen strokes on scrolls with a lot of thick/thin contrast and distress. For those that haven’t seen it, the documentary “Helvetica” is a great watch. It’s not for everyone, but it’s perfect for people who like to analyze what makes great design work.

  4. Jessa Slade

    Ever since I read a post about how Papyrus is for hack designers (I’m a hack designer in my day job) I’m hyper aware of its use. I’ve even inadvertently trained my XY to see it.

    But I have to admit, I really like it. I trotted it out for a micromanaging client and haven’t had to change fonts since. Thank you, Papyrus!

  5. Jerron

    Papyrus is ugly and needs to be destroyed before it completely takes over the world. It should have never ventured outside of scrapbooking.

  6. can

    seeing papyrus within those logos gave me a weird, uncomfortable feeling that i never want to experience again. haha. that font is so overused. yay for helvetica. down with papyrus. the Papyrus card company no longer uses it ( now how about that.

  7. Warren

    I still like the papyrus font, however, would I use it in a new design, today – probably not. I think it still works well if used in the right place, when used properly. But it’s been over used & inappropriately used so our perception of the font has changed.

    It’s like the BMW above, it’s a very good, genuine, legitimate product – but the associated qualities stereotyped to the brand and people who drive them, means I’ll probably never buy one.

    I say stop using it, and let it maintain what dignity it has left, lets not allow it to reach the realms of comic sans.

  8. Archia

    Of course it will be so stupid. “Papyrus” is handwritting, and unseriousness.

  9. jess

    the font is really great for magazines and such but not everything could be readable with it. there just needs to be a balance of using and not using just like with any good font. if it is over used it becomes dull and boring and in general a pain in the butt.i like it just not for everything.

  10. VNA

    I had a run-in with Papyrus twice today. The thing about Papyrus is that every time I see it, I always think it’s some amateur using it, you know, a business owner who has to decide on a logo, and thinks, “Oh, this font looks organic, it’s homey and suitable, etc.” I’ve never understood Papyrus to be a good font, unless you’re advertising for a garage sale of Egyptian wares. In no way is Papyrus more “timeless” than Helvetica. Maybe exotic or archaic, but everything in this list looks tragic in Papyrus.

  11. Kim

    Love this post. Just what I needed today. I lost another perfectly great looking logo to Papyrus this morning. I don’t know what it is about this font that clients love so much. They had so many great ways to go but… Nope. So… Please join me in a moment of silence to mourn the loss of another well designed logo to Papyrus.