Helvetica (2007) Short Review

Being a graphic artist, I remember hours of arguments with one employer that was not just married to, obsessed with or involved with, the font, but having Helvetica’s love child.


I wanted to use Impact. Candella. Crackwhore. Why cant I use Crackwhore? But, no! It was always plain old boring Helvetica. Milquetoast Helvetica. Whitebread Helvetica. Mephistopheles Helvetica. At some point I realized I must conform to give myself fewer migraines. I still don’t love Hitler’s presumed font of choice, but I have learned to accept it. I get it. It’s boring and a lot of business types like boring. Its readable. Its minimalistic (boring). It is the font of bean counters. Of the constipated….

The documentary, you say? What did I think of the documentary? Its subject matter is THE most vanilla font that has ever been created by man. People a thousand years ago that HAD to keep it simple because they were chiseling letters into stone would look at Helvetica and go “Wow. Now, thats a boring font.”

This is as interesting as font documentaries will ever be. I laughed in parts (only because I”m a graphic artist/nerd like the people in the film), like when the guy is pointing out the Coke ad that used Helvetica, THEREFORE it was a superior ad while I’m SCREAMING that the Coke logo was in one of the frilly wedding style fonts (Loki-Cola in my font library) that he had just railed against.

If you’re not a graphic designer or are not fascinated by navel lint collections, then you might want to avoid this film. If you do attempt watching and can’t get through it, at least fast forward and watch Stefan Stagmeister who is one of the ones who calmly rail against Helvetica.

I could have used a bit more of the font’s history, but the film does offer the pros and cons of this satanic style of lettering.

4 of 5, but only if youre an artist of some kind. If you’re not an artist, I’d say 2 of 5.

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