two quick questions about plotting: i am trying to very simply reset the font family to be 'helvetica' for my figure, in particular for the ticklabels. i have tried using the following:

def axes_square(plot_handle):

plot_handle.axes.set_aspect(1/plot_handle.axes.get_data_ratio())

rcParams['font.family'] = 'Helvetica'

p = matplotlib.font_manager.FontProperties()

p.set_family('Helvetica')

x = rand(20)

ax = plot(x, x, 'bo', markeredgecolor='blue', mfc='none')

axes_square(p)

but it does not work. i tried similarly setting the font size (with set_size() or through rcParams) but it did not work either. how can i do this? i'd like to do this either on per axes basis, or for the entire figure.

second, how can i make it so axes labels do not overlap? in many plots, including ones in the gallery, you see the labels at the origin of plots get too close to each other. (i.e. the 0.0 of x-axis and 0.0 of y-axis) - how can you prevent this from happening?

thank you!