Criticizing Helvetica is one of the favorite pastimes of typographers: it’s bland; it’s overused; it’s inapt for most projects. All true statements, but they sort of miss the point. It’s like criticizing Star Wars because the visual effects are unrealistic. Or because the dialogue is wooden. Or because the plot is pinched from The Hidden Fortress. So what? It’s still Star Wars. And like Star Wars, Helvetica will be with us for the foreseeable future.
Should you use Helvetica? Look, I like Helvetica. But the world has already endured millions of Helvetica-related typographic disasters. At this point, using it effectively is like navigating a black-diamond ski slope. It’s difficult and dangerous. And not recommended if it’s your first time at the top of Mt. Typography. Though it’s still better than Arial, which is like flinging yourself off a snowy cliff.
(For the record, I only made it halfway through the documentary Helvetica. I guess I didn’t buy into the protagonist’s struggle.)