[Helvetica film poster.]
A chance I didn't think I'd have: I got to see the documentary film Helvetica (2007) last night, a one-time screening at a nearby community college. Helvetica is of course the ubiquitous modern typeface. Helvetica a wonderful film: a chance to hear type designers talk about their work, their ideas of beauty, the history of post-WW2 type design, and Helvetica itself (some love it; some loathe it). Many shots of workspaces and work, with pencils, erasers, coffee cups, and Macs. (Not a single Windows machine in the film.)
Coming out of the theater, I saw Helvetica everywhere: signs on walls, announcements on a television monitor. Helvetica: we're soaking in it.
My favorite moments in the film: Matthew Carter's explanation of how he begins thinking through a type design, Michael Bierut's commentaries on corporate letterheads and Coca-Cola ads, and Erik Spiekermann's confession:
I'm obviously a typomaniac, which is an incurable if not mortal disease. I can't explain it; I just like looking at type. I just get totally out of it. They are my friends, you know. Other people look at bottles of wine or whatever, or, you know, girls' bottoms. I get kicks out of looking at type. It's a little worrying, I must admit. It's a very nerdish thing to do.The film's site has several short clips, including one with Erik Spiekermann. The DVD arrives on November 6.
Helvetica (A documentary film by Gary Hustwit)["We're soaking in it": Readers of a certain age will recognize a reference to "You're soaking in it," from television commercials for Palmolive Dishwashing Liquid.]
Typographic walking tour