Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Do not read me, I will bore the shit out of you."

**quote by Stefan Sagmeister**

Helvetica, 2007. Four Stars.

Too much to say about this movie. Seriously! I took notes. Lots of illegible pencil scribbles on an old envelope, because, even though I'm somehow not embarrassed to share my typed words on the Internet, I'm deathly afraid of someone reading my personal written words. Hence my terrible, unreadable handwriting that no one else can decipher.

Well anyways, I'll just give my general sense of the movie. And we can chat about it in person if you'd like!

If you don't know, Helvetica is a typeface. You can learn a little bit about it here. Like many designers, I have a love/hate attitude towards Helvetica: In my opinion, it's a gorgeously designed legible typeface whose neutral-ness can, when set in different ways, express different ideas; however, it's overuse and lack of inherent expressiveness can make it a total bore.

I appreciate that, in the movie, it was mentioned that the negative space of this 'face helps it read well. I concur!! I'm a big fan of negative space and what it can do for legibility and general aesthetics.

The gist: The beginning of the movie focused on the Swiss(-style) designers and their love of Helvetica. Then it concentrates on all the designers and movements that rebelled against Helvetica (and everything it "stands for" and such). Towards the end, it tells of current designers who have found a new and different appreciation for Helvetica. So it's pretty swell that the movie covered both "Helvetica" viewpoints, which truly helps the viewer understand this typeface even more.

You want some irony? I watched this flick with the subtitles, which were in Helvetica. But it was set poorly, so it looked and read like crap!! Haha!

IT WAS SO GREAT TO SEE ALL THE BRILLIANT DESIGNERS THAT I'VE STUDIED ABOUT AND TOTALLY DIG!! I'll talk about a few: Michael Bierut was the funniest!! Seeing Erik Spiekermann made me sad because it reminded me about how I missed him speak at the BPL last year. I think he's totally righteous. Paula Scher likened Helvetica to "fascism," which I think is a bit over-the-top and ridiculous (just like her, haha!). And it was cool to see Stefan Sagmeister in the movie, I have a bit of a crush on him. :D

1 comment:

kellina said...

ck: who knew a font, helvetica at that, could provide enough grist for an entire film?! i am so excited to see this, thank you for calling it to my attention. may i suggest we begin crafting the film "zapfino" at once...