Local motion and graphic designer Heather Crank saw Helvetica at the Myan last night. Here’s her take on it.
A topic that could seem dull to anyone that isn’t a type geek was engaging and informative. This is a documentary that stands on its own merit and could appeal to designers and non-designers alike. Produced and directed by Gary Hustwit, the film travels to the United States, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France and Belgium. A whole story unfolds with each interview spanning the history of Helvetica and typography in general. The documentary takes on a life of its own, polarizing the designers/typographers into two camps – haters and lovers of Helvetica. Gary profiles not only interesting personalities, but some of their design work as well. In the clean confined world that Helvetica inhabits, Mr. Hustwit shows the emotional responses to something that is supposed to be banal. I’d like to see Mr. Hustwit tackle a documentary on “watching paint dry,” he just might make it seem interesting.
Some of the interviewee’s were: Erik Spiekermann, Matthew Carter, Massimo Vignelli, Wim Crouwel, Hermann Zapf, Neville Brody, Stefan Sagmeister, Michael Bierut, David Carson, Paula Scher, Jonathan Hoefler, Tobias Frere-Jones, Experimental Jetset, Michael C. Place, Norm, Alfred Hoffmann, Mike Parker, Bruno Steinert, Otmar Hoefer, Leslie Savan, Rick Poynor, and Lars Müller.
You can see more about this film at www.helveticafilm.com. The DVD release is in three weeks, though the Netflicks version won’t have the extra DVD features.