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Helvetica (2007)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 5,298 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 30 critic

A documentary about typography, graphic design, and global visual culture.

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Title: Helvetica (2007)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Manfred Schulz ...
Himself
Massimo Vignelli ...
Himself
Rick Poynor ...
Himself
Wim Crouwel ...
Himself
Matthew Carter ...
Himself
Alfred Hoffmann ...
Himself
Mike Parker ...
Himself
Otmar Hoefer ...
Himself
Bruno Steinert ...
Himself
Hermann Zapf ...
Himself
Michael Bierut ...
Himself
Leslie Savan ...
Herself
Tobias Frere-Jones ...
Himself
Jonathan Hoefler ...
Himself
Erik Spiekermann ...
Himself
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Storyline

A documentary about typography, graphic design, and global visual culture.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 September 2007 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

[first lines]
Rick Poynor: Type is saying things to us all the time. Typefaces express a mood, an atmosphere. They give words a certain coloring.
Michael Bierut: Everywhere you look you see typefaces. But there's one you probably see more than any other one, and that's Helvetica. You know, there it is, and it seems to come from no where. You know, it seems like air? It seems like gravity?
Jonathan Hoefler: And it's hard to evaluate it. It's like being asked what you think about off-white paint. It's just... it's just there. And it's hard to ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Followed by Urbanized (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Magic Step
Written and Performed by Sam Prekop
The Afternoon Speaker Music
Courtesy of Thrill Jockey Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Fonts are as exciting as they seem
19 June 2010 | by (Boston, MA) – See all my reviews

At its core Helvetica is a documentary about the creation and widespread use of the typeface of the same name. If that sounds boring to you, well guess what, it often is.

The film, directed by Gary Hustwit, begins with the birth of the typeface. It was created in 1957 by the Swiss with the hope to create a "perfect" sans-serif typeface. As a side note, a serif is apparently the little "feet" type accents that are on letters of certain typefaces, for example Times New Roman is a serif typeface. The film speaks with several type designers, a profession that I was unaware of, including the designer of Helvetica. Once the viewer has been given an adequate background on the typeface itself, the film begins to change. It wanders away from the typeface itself and becomes a documentary about graphic design. Graphic designers express both their love and hatred for the typeface as well as its effects on the larger world of design, becoming more of a film about modernism and post-modernism as it applies to this world.

Throughout the film, the director goes out into the world to shoot different signs and postings that utilize Helvetica. At the beginning, this is intriguing, often surprising the viewer with just how often this single typeface is used. However, as the director employs this technique more and more often, to the point where it seems built into the transitions, it becomes annoying. By the end, I felt like I was just being shown the same images in a film that no longer was truly just about the typeface itself.

If I were a graphic designer I may have found this film more intriguing and interesting, but sadly, this is not the case. It is shot well and the interviews seem to give a balanced opinion on the use of the typeface, but as a film, it is stretched thin, feeling overlong at its lean 80 minutes.


4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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