June 19, 2007

Helvetica

Last night, I saw 'Helvetica' at the Gene Siskel Film Center. The film is a documentary, exploring typography and graphic design, while specifically focusing on Helvetica font, which will be celebrating its 50th birthday this year.

Yes, I paid money to see a film about font. on the big screen. full-length feature film ...and you should too. The film was brilliant. Not only did it discuss the history of Helvetica, THE ubiquitous typeface, but also included interviews with a number of well-known and innovative graphic designers and typographers (i.e. Massimo Vignelli, Matthew Carter, Eric Spiekermann, Wim Crouwel, etc.).

As a child, I used to go thru all my dad's drawing and model supplies, searching for cool pencils, rapidograph pens and Pantone sheets. Thumbing thru press type, I noted my dad ALWAYS had a few sheets of Helvetica on hand. I remember my dad telling me, if ever in question about what type of font to use, just use Helvetica. It's classic.

Funny thing is, nowadays, Helvetica isn't so readily available. For example, Blogger doesn't offer Helvetica as one of their font option. Our email system at work doesn't have Helvetica on their font list either. Not that there is anything wrong with Arial ...or Webdings... but why exclude Helvetica? Seriously, let's be honest here, when do you EVER use Webdings?

1 comment:

Little Old House said...

Fonts are cool.
Hey - I almost used Helvetica for our house numbers but settled on Kabel for something different. Arial is so overused...