Archive for April, 2011

Helvetica the Movie

This movie really made me thing about type in a new way. Type is a form of expression. It says something to the viewer of a poster, magazine, newspaper, etc. I never really understood why designers really cared that much about type, but now I see for them it is about stating what they believe in.

Personally, I am not really sure what side I fall on, pro Helvetica or against Helvetica. The designers who are all for Helvetica make a good argument foe why they use it and why the typeface is so versatile. On the other side it is interesting to hear from the people who see that not using Helvetica is a rebellious statement. The comment that stuck with me after the movie was ” Helvetica is like the Government, like the Vietnam war.” I can see where she was coming from when she said that because Helvetica really has become generalized and sterile over the last 50 years.

So all and all, I really liked the movie and I thought it was incredibly interesting and powerful.


Helvetica: the movie

I still can’t believe that there is a movie about a typeface! I actually found it very interesting and fun. I had no idea how widely used Helvetica is. It can be found just about anywhere you look; it’s around every corner and used on every other sign. I often have a hard time liking and using a typeface that is cliche or “over-used”, but this movie made me see Helvetica a little differently. The reason it is so widely used is because it is effective and clear to read. I enjoyed learning the history of the type and where it came from. The movie, along with this class all semester long, has really made me see typography in a whole new way, with a new perspective; I definitely appreciate it much more.

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Prior to watching Helvetica, I knew how ubiquitous the typeface was, but I never considered it’s origins or why it is so popular. Learning about the European roots of Helvetica, as well as seeing the actual type foundries and process of creating the typeface, was very interesting. Additionally, the background of the naming of Helvetica (how it started out at “Helvetia,” which is Latin for “Switzerland”) was a great fact. I liked how the film incorporated a variety of countries to show how universal Helvetica is, and showed actual signs and posters to remind viewers where they have seen Helvetica in action. Overall, the film was highly informative and a great way to close out the course, because it showed how relevant and important an understanding of design can be in our society.


Watching Helvetica made me realize that, like any major event, each typeface has an entire history.  People study typeface by their form and structure, as well as the time period during which the typeface was created.  One of the speakers mentioned that if he had to compare himself to a typeface, he would be Helvetica because Helvetica is the perfect reflection of German precision.  It is perfect, with very exact curves and edges.  Like the speaker said, Helvetica reflects controlled emotion.  It made me think of typeface in a totally different way–not just as a mundane way to write–but as a major part of history.

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Helvetica: The Movie

Helvetica: The Movie was, in essence a pretty decent summary of everything I’ve learned in this class. Not the movie itself mind you, but the way that I view it. Before this class I doubt I would have noticed or understood most of the concepts about the movie in depth. But now, I find myself thinking in type ll the time. A particular favorite of mine is the Subway logo, which I notice draws the eye with its unique arrows. That being said, the fact that Helvetica is as ubiquitous as it is certainly is fascinating. The idea that images ranging from fashion store logos to subway (transportation) signs utilize helvetica effectively is just a testament to how versatile it is as a typeface. I would never have noticed how often I see helvetica or other typefaces without this class. To be able to understand the concept of Helvetica: The Movie is just like everything coming full circle for me in this class.


I never thought a movie about a typeface would ever hold my attention for 80 minutes.  Maybe it was just really well directed, but the movie and the plot were very interesting.  What I really liked was how throughout the entire movie, different examples of where the type is used throughout the world were shown.  From subways in NYC , to restauranst in Amsterdam I never realized how common the type is.  What I also thought was intriguing was that everyone interviewed in the movie had such a profound respect for type.  I think Helvetica is a font that really has nothing bad or negative about it.  Most fonts a professional would be able to pick out a flaw, but not Helvetica.

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