Saturday, February 20, 2010


I recently saw Helvetica, a movie about the Helvetica typeface.

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Directed by Gary Hustwit, the documentary tells the history of the typeface, created by Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann in Switzerland in the late 1950s. Originally named Die Neue Haas Grotesk, it was spawned from a desire for a neutral, cleaner typeface.

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With a running time of 80 minutes, you are taken through typesetting, design, and the explosion of fonts through the heavy use of word processing programs like Microsoft Word via narration, interviews with graphic designers, and snapshots of its widespread usage.

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It is amazing to see just how much of our world is intertwined with Helvetica. Examples of a few of the many industry giants who use the typeface are 3M, Microsoft, Toyota, and Apple to municipal transit systems like NYC's Metropolitan Transit Authority and Chicago Transit Authority's L.

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My father instilled an interest in typesetting, as well as electronics, computers, and photography, when I was a young child so this was an interesting film. As such, it is not for everyone, but encouraged as an eye-opener, revealing the thought and effort in an inarguably ubiquitous, yet widely imperceptible, creation.

- Cassaendra

0 deep thoughts:

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