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Changing the world, one letter at a time…
Helvetica is a feature-length independent film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface (which will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2007) as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives. The film is an exploration of urban spaces in major cities and the type that inhabits them, and a fluid discussion with renowned designers about their work, the creative process, and the choices and aesthetics behind their use of type.
Helvetica encompasses the worlds of design, advertising, psychology, and communication, and invites us to take a second look at the thousands of words we see every day.
Interviewees in Helvetica include some of the most illustrious and innovative names in the design world, including Erik Spiekermann, Matthew Carter, Massimo Vignelli, Wim Crouwel, Hermann Zapf, Neville Brody, Stefan Sagmeister, Michael Bierut, David Carson, Paula Scher, Jonathan Hoefler, Tobias Frere-Jones, Experimental Jetset, Michael C. Place, Norm, Alfred Hoffmann, Mike Parker, Bruno Steinert, Otmar Hoefer, Leslie Savan, Rick Poynor, Lars Muller, and many more
95 minutes of bonus interviews English and German subtitles
Helvetica is truly a work of art. -- Austin Chronicle
One of the wittiest, most diligently researched, slyly untelligent and quietly captivating documentaries of the year. -- Time Out London
Provocative. -- NY Times
Viewers are in for an exclamation point of joy from such a well designed doc. "A -" --Entertainment Weekly
Top Customer Reviews
I'm an art graduate. As a child, I enjoyed to look at fonts for hours - a Letraset catalogue(titled in big Helvetica letters) from the 80s was one of my (most) prized possessions.
When I first heard about this movie I was thrilled. Now that I saw it, I can say it was worth my time. The movie is smart, witty, and a pleasure to behold - an endless stream of layouts. And valuable insights, commentaries and history. Oh yes, the film is also inspirational - it makes you think about good design. It makes you desire good design, whatever that may mean today.
My favourite quote from the movie:
"The life of a designer is a life of fighting--fight against the ugliness, just like a doctor fights against disease. For us visual disease is what we have around and what we try to do is try to cure it somehow, you know, with design." Thanks Mr. Vignelli for putting things into perspective.
Given Helvetica's importance in design history, this is not a movie you should miss.
I first saw Helvetica(the font) as a child, I first acknowledged it as a high school design student, now it's one of my 3 most used fonts at work. I know it's flaws and shortcomings, and I've come to rely on it's many strengths and virtues. It's versatile, strong and straightforward. It's one you can trust. It's also got a softer side, when you come to know her better. It's an old friend of mine, that now is starring in it's own movie! Now that's something to celebrate.
Cheers, Helvetica! Cheers, old friend!
Not everyone is a fan of Helvetica, or perhaps I should say that not everyone is a fan of its ubiquity. Through interviews with 3 generations of graphic designers and type designers, "Helvetica" presents both its fans and detractors, what makes it is a truly great font, what makes it controversial, and the reasons it persists. Helvetica is the font that rescued graphic design from the kitschy chaos of the 1950s. A product of post-war idealism, Helvetica was perfect for facilitating communication in an intelligible, egalitarian way, on an international scale. It is described as: modern, clear, rational, accessible, transparent, and neutral.
By the 1970s, Helvetica had earned its share of critics. What had been revolutionary to old-school modernists seemed fascistic, boring, overused, and conformist to Baby Boomers. In rebellion against Helvetica, graphic designers sought more subjective, distinctive styles of type including illustrated, hand-drawn, and grunge typefaces. By the late 1990s, Gen Xers and their European counterparts were embracing Helvetica again, though perhaps with different goals and rationale.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great documentary, and a nice trip down the memory lane of my work life.Published 6 days ago by Karen Elizabeth Culp
I really tried to go outside my comfort zone with this movie, but I honestly could not get through the first 10 minutes. This is not meant for those with a short attention span.Published 3 months ago by Nina
A very interesting look at the font. I teach a class that gives communication and journalism students a crash course in basic design concepts and show this film to drive home the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Rob Q.
Interesting and well produced documentary. Who knew a font could be so life changing?Published 4 months ago by Les
Interesting movie, had to watch for a class. Amazing how Helvetica took over the signage world.Published 4 months ago by Jeepers
The documentary is very well put-together. It traces the history and the impact of the world's most ubiquitous typeface. Read morePublished 4 months ago by rbrogan3