Thursday, January 7, 2010


Documentary: Helvetica
Like/Don't Like: Like. But I like this sort of stuff.

Who knew there was so much to say about a font. And not just any font. The most straight forward font there is - Helvetica.

And who knew that they could make such a fascinating documentary about this font. Or, excuse me, typeface (I don't want to offend the typeface designers who - I'm not kidding - are PASSIONATE about it.) It basically draws a line from its creation in Switzerland in the 50s when Modernism was all the rage, to a backlash against it in the 70s and 80s when we were all down with the Establishment, to today with the hipsters going crazy for it. Case in point - American Apparel uses it. One typeface designer - a product of the 70s graphic design theory actually blames Helvetica for both the Vietnam war and the current war in Iraq.

You would either love it or be totally confused as to why it was even made. And I bet you know what side you're on. But I'll end with brief exchange I had with a friend a few days after seeing it.

Teresa: I love that at the end of the Harry Potter books there is a page telling you about the typeface.

Me: I have a movie I think you'll love.


Valerie said...

The MoMA had an exhibit on this typeface. It was fascinating. I stood in front of the television screen which flashed signs from different countries that used Helvetica. I watched the soundless loop for about twenty minutes. I'd probably like this movie.

Rach said...

Wow. I will try this one out some time when Tim's out of town or at a late meeting. I'm not sold on it yet, but I bet I'd like it.

teresa p said...

I've got a blog post forming in my head on this very subject. Check it out in a couple of days. I do love a good typeface (and how many cool free ones you can find online).