Helvetica the movie

13Apr08

I just watched Helvetica, a documentary film by Gary Hustwit. It is a fantastic feature-length film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface (which celebrated 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 the choices and aesthetics behind their use of type. A great watch!

About the Typeface: Helvetica was developed by Max Miedinger in 1957 for the Haas Type Foundry in Munchenstein, Switzerland. In the late 1950s, the European design world saw a revival of older sans-serif typefaces such as Akzidenz Grotesk. Haas’ director Eduard Hoffmann commissioned Miedinger, a former employee and freelance designer, to draw an updated sans-serif typeface to add to their line. The result was called Neue Haas Grotesk, but its name was later changed to Helvetica, derived from Helvetia, the Roman name for Switzerland, when Haas’ German parent companies Stempel and Linotype began marketing the font internationally in 1961.



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