"What the Helvetica?!"

Well, I saw Helvetica last night. You may recall I was pretty psyched to see it a while back, and I'm glad I finally got the chance. First off, it's well-made. Beautiful, even. Secondly, it has interviews with nearly every important figure in 20th/21st century design (most noticeably absent was Milton Glaser. WTH?), though some of them I can do without (I'm looking at you, David Carson, you smug so-and-so... "I didn't have any design training blahblahblah aren't I a genius?"), and finally, it's a great look at both the typeface as well as visual culture over the last 75 years or so.

You really don't need to be a typophile to appreciate it (though it helps), you just have to be interested in the world around you and how a single, ubiquitous typeface can communicate so much to so many people. Personally, I'm kind of on the fence when it comes to good old Helvetica. I'm not as dogmatic as Massimo Vignelli (who loves it) or Erik Speikerman (who hates it). It has its place. For some reason, whenever I use it, it just feels... Default? Boring? Artless? Basically, it never looks half as cool as some of the contemporary designers they interview.


So, watch for screenings near you or look for it on Netflix sometime in the future. It's worth it.

On a sidenote, the film pointed me to these cool Frietag bags made from reclaimed tarps from semis. Pretty sweet, huh?

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