Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Everything I Consume: Helvetica

An entire movie about a typeface, how cool is that? Well, if you answered not cool at all, you'll have no interest in Helvetica. But if any typeface deserves a movie it's Helvetica. It must be the most ubiquitous typeface of all time. If you watch this movie you'll see many, many, many examples of this. I'm sure you can turn your head right now and see it or it's bastard brother Arial.

I liked this movie and the talking heads of various designers and typographers was interesting and informative. In my experience most designers have problems with verbal communication so it was nice to see a few who can talk. About halfway through it seemed they ran out of things to say so it turned into a debate on modernism which, in my opinion, is only popular because its cheap and bland.

Back in the early 90s there was a book call The Macintosh Bible. I was told it was great but it was really written by a bunch of over-opinionated know-it-alls and I soon found better advice elsewhere. But I do remember the section on type. Since knowing how to use a Macintosh in those days made you a designer (for good or evil) many of us had no idea what to with all those fonts. What's good, what's bad? Am I too boring or too adventurous? So, the author of the chapter said if you don't know what you're doing you should do one of two things. Either, never use Helvetica and Times or only use Helvetica and Times. I still think that's some of the best advice I've ever heard. Either take big chances or play it safe, no middle ground.

If you see any film about a typeface this year, let it be this one.

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