7.2/10
7,013
33 user 31 critic

Helvetica (2007)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 12 September 2007 (USA)
Trailer
1:39 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Prime Video

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

Director:

Gary Hustwit
Reviews
3 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Objectified (2009)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them.

Director: Gary Hustwit
Stars: Paola Antonelli, Chris Bangle, Andrew Blauvelt
Urbanized (2011)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A documentary about the design of cities, which looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world's foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers.

Director: Gary Hustwit
Stars: Norman Foster, Jan Gehl, Ellen Dunham-Jones
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames were America's most influential and important industrial designers. Admired for their creations and fascinating as individuals, they have ... See full summary »

Directors: Jason Cohn, Bill Jersey
Stars: Charles Eames, Ray Eames, James Franco
Rams (2018)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

It is a documentary portrait of Dieter Rams, one of the most influential designers alive, and a rumination on consumerism, sustainability, and the future of design.

Director: Gary Hustwit
Stars: Dieter Rams
Art & Copy (2009)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

ART & COPY is a powerful new film about advertising and inspiration. Directed by Doug Pray (SURFWISE, SCRATCH, HYPE!), it reveals the work and wisdom of some of the most influential ... See full summary »

Director: Doug Pray
Stars: Mary Wells, Dan Wieden, Hal Riney
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Profiles Milton Glaser (1929- ), America's foremost graphic designer: designer of the iconic "I [heart] N.Y." logo, teacher, and humanitarian. Interviews with Glaser are arranged to take ... See full summary »

Director: Wendy Keys
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Stars: Denis Lawson, Jonathan Glancey, Stephen Bayley
Abstract: The Art of Design (TV Series 2017)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A look beyond blueprints and computers into the art and science of design, showcasing great designers from every discipline whose work shapes our world.

Stars: Platon, Elisabeth Biondi, Ilse Crawford
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Italian-born Massimo and Lella Vignelli are among the world's most influential designers. Throughout their long career, their motto has been, 'If you can't find it, design it' The work ... See full summary »

Directors: Kathy Brew, Roberto Guerra
Stars: Paola Antonelli, Barry Bergdoll, Michael Bierut
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The film traces the rise of one of the world's premier architects, Norman Foster, and his unending quest to improve the quality of life through design.

Directors: Carlos Carcas, Norberto López Amado
Stars: Norman Foster, Deyan Sudjic
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Visual Acoustics celebrates the life and career of Julius Shulman, the world's greatest architectural photographer, whose images brought modern architecture to the American mainstream. ... See full summary »

Director: Eric Bricker
Stars: Frances Anderton, Tom Ford, Frank Gehry
Edit

Cast

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

Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 September 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Гельветика See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,614, 18 September 2007, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$204,000, 1 June 2008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Veer, Swiss Dots See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

[All trivia items for this title are spoilers.] See more »

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 Objectified (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Magic Step
Written and Performed by Sam Prekop
The Afternoon Speaker Music
Courtesy of Thrill Jockey Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Mildly interesting, but ponderous
18 June 2009 | by dbogosian-1See all my reviews

A documentary about a typeface? For those of us who take interest in such things, of course! But if you're one of those who never bothers to change the default font in your Word documents from Times New Roman, then I'd recommend you stay away from this film altogether.

Unfortunately, even those who are keenly aware of typefaces may find this movie disappointing. My main criticisms:

1. It spends long sequences showing us examples of Helvetica signage used in various contexts. Some are elegant and clean, many are torn old posters, ragged pieces of letters peeling off walls, etc. These sequences were artistic and okay at first, but maybe after the fourth one, you find yourself reaching for the fast-forward.

2. It spends the vast majority of its time in interviews with various designers discussing their impressions of the font's "meaning" or its impact in the history of design. This should have been perhaps 30% of the film, instead it is closer to 80%.

3. It doesn't spend enough time looking at the technical details of the font. There are occasional off-hand references by some of the interview subjects to various features of certain letters, but even those segments are not illustrated. I would have loved to see a side-by-side contrast between Helvetica and similar sans-serif fonts used earlier, or perhaps others created since then. In one sequence, we catch a glimpse of one of the original large-scale drawings for one of the letters; I would have enjoyed seeing more of those, larger on the screen, and with explanation of how the various parts work in relation to one another.

With its current affective emphasis, this would have been an acceptable 45-min. documentary, but at an hour and a half, it is far longer than it needs to be. I hoped to walk away with an understanding of what made Helvetica uniquely popular, but that was never clearly shown in any way.


31 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 33 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed