Type. Type design. It’s everywhere around us each day if you live in a city. It could be business fronts, billboards, advertisements, graphic design, computer applications and on and on. If you are alive in the modern world you see a type face every single day of your life.
When it comes to types—Helvetica is the king of all types. Born in late 1950s Switzerland as an attempt to be the perfect typeface for the design world and all walks of life. Helvetica is a very interesting documentary that tells the history, influence, the cultural and artistic impact of the type through the decades since it was created.
Helvetica is right up my alley. I’ve long been interested in typography and think it would be a really cool job to design new types. A few years ago I was at a Bruce Goff exhibit and became enthralled by the way his architectural drawings were identified. I took out a notebook and copied the letters of the alphabet so I could then teach myself how to write like Goff. So, any documentary about type is going to be highly interesting to me.
I’ve never been a fan of the Helvetica type. I’ve always avoided it—the ubiquitous writing application font in all computer programs. Helvetica has always struck me as rather dull and plain. This documentary, filled with a lot of designer types extolling (with a few railing against it) the sheer perfection of the simplicity that is Helvetica, has made me rethink my stance on it. Helvetica type is a wonderfully simple design with flawless attention to the curves and straight lines that make a good type. Looking closely at Helvetica, it’s hard to find fault with the way the letters are weighted as individual letters that merge into the group. It is simple but simplicity is often the pinnacle of good design.
Helvetica is one of my favorite documentaries released in 2007. I liked it enough that I’ve done something I’ve not done in a long time with my choice of hundreds of fonts on my iMac—I selected it as my font to use when I write. I wrote these words with Helvetica.