***EDIT (March 30, 2014)***
Wow! I never would have expected that I'd get anywhere close to 100 likes on this…
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.
Turns a movie about the history of a font into a study of the subliminal, of individualism, of unity, of what it's like to be obsessed with minutia, of old vs new, of modern culture, of being more aware of the world around you and ALSO about the theory of designing a font.
It's not the best documentary ever, but it's a well constructed film and a damn impressive feat.
Perhaps I might have had a better time if I was more interested in fonts. What promises to be an intriguing look at the most divisive typeface this side of Comic Sans – the all-conquering Helvetica – too often turns pretentious and self-indulgent when trying to evaluate the role that fonts play in articulating, obscuring or subverting the message they’re meant to convey; in theory a very interesting idea. Much of the problem lies with the interviewees, who are mostly pretty insufferable, either talking very pedantically about letter shape or spouting hideously superficial Sugar Ape-like bollocks. One very confusing American graphic designer says, hopefully joking, that Helvetica was “the font of the Iraq War”. Tsk, you can sponsor anything these…
I am a typographer, and so this movie speaks lovingly to a very specialized, nerdy part of myself. I'm not sure I'd necessarily recommend that those not interested in type watch this, but it certainly would give uninterested parties a glimpse into a world they may never have thought about.
I love typography...a lot. To me, typography is one of the greatest artforms in existence, 26 letters...endless possibilities. Every letter becomes an artwork. The curves. The lines...jutting skyward or descending. God, I love lettering!
Yes I am.
I enjoy the Helvetica font, but I'm a Century Gothic man, through and through.
Gary Hustwit's Helvetica documentary is equal parts informative documentary and filler material. 80 minutes, broken down into 50 minutes of information - the origins of Helvetica, its importance and effects on the design world, its fans and detractors. 30 mintues of expository shots showing Helvetica in everyday use through signage, signage, and good lord more signage. The expository shots become ridiculous parody with a man gleefully pointing to the signage that employ Helvetica.
I get it Helvetica is everywhere! Please stop Hustwit!
Oh you Swiss and your functionality!
I'm always amazed at how many people with no design or typographic tendencies enjoy this documentary, and this alone is a testament to how well Hustwit put together the range of talking heads. He plays them off one another, but also sequences them in a way that doesn't lose the linear narrative following Helvetica's progression from initial creation to global ubiquity. Most enjoyable are the extreme opinions on show (the ranting Spiekermann being a standout).
This is my second viewing of Helvetica. The first was at a local film festival screening (after which the director, Gary Hustwit, answered some questions for the audience), and upon rewatching it I realised how much my enjoyment of the film was also influenced by…
Really well made and enjoyable by non-designers, don't worry!
I had very high hopes for this after the tremendous surprise of WordPlay. It was long and the editing didn't work for me.
A was so surprised to see a film about fonts. A very unconventional approach to documentary filmmaking indeed But that doesn't make it great. The film dives into ex-typographers and designers talk about the 'Helvetica' font, and all you can think of us is "wow, these guys are pretentious, perfectionist snobs". The way some of them describe the fonts is just silly, and you can tell just how obsessed and caught up in the whole font thing they are.
So, the documentary discusses the importance of fonts, their use, their impact and how they effect the way we see things like art, signs and advertisement. It is very interesting, because it is important. Just think of fonts for movie posters…
Según los diseñadores y publicistas de los años 50, si uno escribía "perro" las letras tenían que ladrar. Cansados de tanto ladrido, los diseñadores de los años 60 acogieron la nueva tipografía "Neue Haas Grotesk" como la llegada del Mesías. Una tipografía neutra, clara, moderna que hoy en día permanece insuperada y que, acertadamente, se rebautizó como "Helvetica".
Da gusto ver documentales como este, que tratan sobre temas no demasiado conocidos de la cultura de nuestro tiempo. La primera media hora debería verse en prime time.
because class ended. Pretty soon I will have gone a month without watching a movie in its entirety. A few weeks ago I also watched about half of a student film in my Film Festivals class but I'm pretty sure it's not on Letterboxd.
A documentary about fonts that has some interesting information but is pretty lacking as a movie. It’s edited in a way where there’s often no way to tell what exactly the talking heads are even discussing. Interesting subject, poor film-making.
I always knew Helvetica was ubiquitous but I really had no idea how immersive it was. I'm looking around the room, my fan brand is Helvetica, my flat pack furniture from Ikea still unopened is covered in Helvetica, some bottle of alcohol on the shelf - Helvetica and, y'know, this whole damn computer.
I love when documentaries take something that you don't even know is 'a thing' and illuminate so much about it, while making you look completely oblivious in the process. For design nerds and typography fiends this is an awesome film and for those who have a passing interest it's pretty wonderful too. It's amazing seeing people talk about typeface as if it was a living breathing attribute to our lives, which after this documentary, I can see it really it.
Why is... bad taste ubiquitous?
A truly fascinating look at Helvetica and typography. Unfortunately the documentary looses steam after the first 50 minutes and drags on for another half an hour. In spite of that it's still well worth a watch.
Interesting at times; it has the greatest amount of old white nerds discussing fonts that I've ever seen.
This film is as thrilling or engaging as you might expect about a movie about a font. It's... interesting, at times, but I can't help but feel like I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I was a typeface designer or really cared about fonts in general.
- I've Heard the Mermaids Singing
- Zazie in the Metro
- Allegro non troppo
- The Adventures of Prince Achmed
***EDIT (March 30, 2014)***
- Exit Through the Gift Shop
- Art & Copy
- The Work of Director Spike Jonze
- The Work of Director Michel Gondry
- The Work of Director Chris Cunningham
A few art and design related movies. Mostly for my own reference. Feel free to suggest some.
- Jiro Dreams of Sushi
- Man on Wire
- The Imposter
- The Cove
My favorite documentaries and some more