Helvetica: A Documentary Film
Just a quick post to get the word out as best I can about Gary Hustwit's totally engaging, funny, inspiring, all-around extraordinary documentary about that most ubiquitous of fonts, the much loved, much hated, Helvetica.
Seriously: if you have any interest at all in typography, or graphic design, or advertising, or, as Hustwit puts it, "global visual culture," then this really is a must-see, both for its thoughtful historical perspective on how and why this font conquered the world, and for its stellar line-up of designers—both pro- and anti-Helvetica—including Massimo Vignelli, Stefan Sagmeister, Michael Bierut (who gets in some of the best lines), David Carson (also very entertaining ), Paula Scher, Experimental Jetset (who, I discovered, did that Beatles shirt you see everywhere, pictured below), Eric Spiekermann, Jonathan Hoefler and Bruno Steinert, all of whom speak with wonderful eloquence, wit and passion about their craft and aesthetic beliefs.
I had such a big smile on my face for the entire 80 minutes. In fact, my only regret about the film was that I didn't take my daughters... though it's already on our Netflix "saved " list.
It's unclear how long Helvetica will playing here in New York—it's now exclusively at the IFC Center—but I wouldn't count on it being around for more than another couple of weeks. The website has a complete list of upcoming screenings in cities around the world. And for my favorite use of Helvetica, by one of the best designers in town, please see here.