Helvetica: NYC Premiere

Well I just got back from the NYC premiere of Helvetica, a documentary film by Gary Hustwit, and it was great. Very well done. The film gives you some great insight from designers on how the world has been affected by this great font. The movie features Massimo Vignelli, Jonathan Hoefler, Tobias Frere-Jones, Danny van den Dungen, Neville Brody, Wim Crouwel, Michael C. Place and more.

One of the most interesting points of the movie is the whole Modernism vs Expermiental argument. Legends like Vignelli and Crouwel expressed their passions for Modernism and how the influx of typefaces, especially the more “grunge” fonts, have ruined typography. Something I personally I agree with. I was pretty shocked how Stefan Sagmeister and David Carson blatantly trashed Modernism and pretty much Helvetica itself, calling them both “boring”. As a designer I really don’t see how you can say Modernism and Helvetica are boring, even if you don’t like that specific style you can still appreciate it. Just like how I don’t particularly like Bob Dylans music but I totally understand the impact it has had and I appreciate it. Anyways, I do have less respect for Carson and Sagmeister after this movie and honestly I don’t think they do great work to begin with, but that’s just me. I do understand why they are respected and I respect that.

After the movie they had a nice Q&A panel with Vignelli, Hoefler, Frere-Jones, Hustwit and some other dude who’s name I forgot. I then met Hustwit and Vignelli and had them sign my poster like a dorky fan that I am. I had a really great time and I think every graphic design/typographer should see this movie, even if you are one of those people that hates Helvetica.        

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