Helvetica Movie Day

You’re in class assignment for next week is to watch, this movie. Then before Thanksgiving in the comments section of this post, share your favorite quote from the movie and how you feel about the typeface Helvetica after watching it.

( I may have to approve your comments before it shows up, also the comments are time stamped when you submit them regardless of weather or not they have been approved )

18 responses to “Helvetica Movie Day

  1. “I couldn’t create a typeface alone and neither could my father so we had to work together”

    I never really pay attention to the typeface of a lot of type. So I never really realized how used Helvetica is. I think after watching this film, I will start to realize and pay attention to that more.

  2. Favorite Quote: “For us, visual disease is what we have around. And what we try to do is cure it somehow with design.” Massimo Vignelli
    Feeling on Helvetica: I think it is used so much, almost too much. Non-designers are oblivious to Helvetica but designers are tired of seeing this perfect typeface. I feel Helvetica is perfect for anything informational except anything that needs emotion or expression since Helvetica doesn’t express the content.

  3. I think one of my favorite quotes from the movie was one by Lars Müller: “And I think I’m right by calling Helvetica the perfume of the city. It is just something we don’t notice usually but we would miss very much if it wouldn’t be there.” It’s true, Helvetica is everywhere and we may not notice it but places might have different feels if everything was in a different font. After watching the movie, I feel that Helvetica is a font that can be used almost anywhere and a lot of people don’t even know about its popularity. It is a font that is easily legible and can communicate messages clearly, a reason that it is used over and over again. However, I do think that people can misuse the font. Designers may not look into the context of what they are creating and go straight to Helvetica, where they could be more expressive and creative with what typeface they decide to use.

  4. “Most people who use Helvetica, use it because it’s ubiquitous. It’s like going to McDonald’s instead of thinking about food. Because it’s there, it’s on every street corner, so let’s eat crap because it’s on the corner.” I like the typeface but feel it is over used. I think it should be kept for things like street signs and transportation.I feel companies should stay away from the font to set themselves apart from their competition that probably uses it. Companies should adopt their own font and put it in their stores online to keep it consistent.

  5. One of my favorite quotes from this film is one by Danny Van Den Dungen: ” the city I was born in Rotterdam the logo type was designed by Wim Crouwel, the stems were designed by Wim Crouwel, the telephone book was designed by Wim Crouwel, the school books were designed by Wim Crouwel, so for us its like a natural modatongue. It’s really natural a lot of people think we study it for books then copy it, but I would really say it’s almost in our blood”. This quote really says that people who just grow up with typeface or any certain typeface within an era will really be attached to it, like it is apart of them. Just like Annika said above, people don’t realize it’s everywhere and we use it for everything, but we do and we don’t realize it. I know for me when I was first getting into design I thought the most important aspect was the actual art piece itself not the typeface as well. Now going through design classes I know it’s just as important as the art that it’s with.

  6. My favorite quote from the movie was, “I am always interested in clarity. It should be clear, it should be readable, it should be straight forward… I started using grids for my catalogs for museums. I invented a grid, and within the grid I played my game, but always along the lines of the grid so that there is a certain order in it. That’s why I use grids. That’s why they call me ‘grid-nick’. For me, it’s a tool of creating order. And creating order is typography.” This was my favorite quote because it brought me back to my typography course my sophomore year of college. As said in the movie, it is important for your text to be readable, clear, straight to the point, and orderly for your audience to understand what is being projected in your work.
    After watching the film, I believe Helvetica is a great typeface that already has its own aesthetic which can be applied into many types of design work. It has a personality of its own, that can transform your work. Helvetica can be used to express emotions while also communicating your message to the audience. In previous years, I have experimented with Helvetica and plan on using it more frequently as I grow as a designer.

  7. I enjoyed the fact Stefan Sagmeister was so blunt and said, “Do not read me, because I will bore the shit out of you.” While I don’t hold the same harsh opinion as him, I do see how choosing to use such a font would be looked at as being lazy. To me, Helvetica is appropriate in many applications due to its easy readability, but that’s it. I’m not denying its versatility, however I see it as a safe typeface to use in design. If you want to push the boundaries of the artistic world, you have to step away from the comfort of Helvetica.

  8. One of the first quotes I had written down from this movie was by Rick Poynor, saying, “Type is saying things to us all the time. Typefaces express a mood, an atmosphere. They give words a certain coloring.” I think this is a perfect expression for what it means to be a designer, especially one who works closely with typefaces. Typefaces allow the designer an opportunity to give words new meanings and new life purely in the way that they’re presented visually, and Helvetica is no exception. The movie showed so many examples of Helvetica’s versatility as a font, and why it was more or less the modern universal font. I live in New York, pretty close to the city, so I’m very much so accustomed to seeing Helvetica everywhere I go, and I’m constantly amazed by how much one font can do and and how many different messages it can convey.

  9. My favorite quote from the movie was when David Carson was talking about his experience and he says something along the lines of “I had no formal training in the field, I never learned all the things I wasn’t supposed to do. I just did what made sense to me. I was just experimenting. So when people started getting upset, I didn’t understand why… There was a group that was spending all this time trying to organize things and get a system going, and they saw me coming in and throwing this out the window. I might have done this but this wasn’t the starting point or the plan.” This stood out to me because sometimes I feel like I do things my own way as well and try not to always follow what others have done before me. In terms of my feelings about the Helvetica typeface after watching the movie, I think I have more of an appreciation from its beginnings and how much it really exists in the world around us. I never thought that there would be this much praise for something seemingly so minor in our lives. It really has gained such a large presence in design where everybody seems to know it yet never truly realizes it and the impact it has in our lives.

  10. One of my favorite quotes from the movie was from Massimo Vignelli right at the start of the movie. He said, “good typographer always has sensitivity about distance between letters. Within typography it is black and white. Typography is really white, it is not even black. It is the space between the blacks that really makes it. In a sense its like music its not the notes it is the spacing between the notes that makes the music”. I loved the comparison between music and typography it really stood out to me.
    I feel that Helvetica is a font that can have universal uses and possibilities. I hope that as I further my experience as a designer I can form an opinion on Helvetica like the designers in the film. I took from the movie you can love it and be obsessed with it, or you can despise it and want to stray away from it. Helvetica has great potential because it is so neutral. It allows for the content of the text to be emphasized rather than the typeface being emphasized.

  11. One of my favorite quotes that stood out to me was said by Tobias Frere-Jones, “Even if they are not consciously aware of the typeface they are reading, they are certainly effected by it”. I liked this quote because before watching the movie I did not realize the effect and importance of the typeface. I did not ever notice how it is all around. After watching the movie, I appreciate the type face a lot more. It has a clean look to it. Prior to everyone using everyone using Helvetica (1950s) there was so many different typefaces being used that it looked less clean. I definitely like the typeface and am going to start looking for it when I am out.

  12. My favorite quote from the movie is “I am always interested in clarity. It should be clear, it should be readable, it should be straight forward…” I think this spoke to me because I tend to lean towards more simplistic styles in design and to hear him speak of this font in such a way resinated with me. At the end of the day graphic design is a way of communication and while it is our job to create aesthetically pleasing designs, we can’t forget that our designs need to be clear and readable for the viewers to understand. The Helvetica font is so popular because it allows designers to create these pieces to catch attention while also clearly portraying the info.

  13. One of my favorite quotes is “I’m always interested in clarity. It should be clear. It should be readable. It should be straightforward.” I hate logos and posters and artwork that has type that I can’t easily read. If I have to stand there for like 30 seconds to figure out what the type says, the work loses some credibility in my mind. This also makes it difficult when I am trying to design, because I want my work to be clean and legible, but I feel like it looks boring when it’s too organized.

    I also like the quote that was comparing Helvetica to a landslide that was waiting to go down the mountain. Many companies (for example: Target, the North Face, the IRS) use Helvetica and it’s clear that once the type was created, many different designs incorporated the text no matter the purpose for the design. I never realized just how much Helvetica is used out in the world, and honestly, I am never going to be able to look at it again without being like “ah, yes, Helvetica” for the rest of my life. One designer mentioned in the video that Arial type is the copy of Helvetica that is “worse” than Helvetica (which he already viewed as a bad type). I personally don’t mind Helvetica font, but whenever I have seen an essay written in Arial font I had this thought that the essay seemed kind of rushed and quickly put together, because usually my peers and I have been told to use Times New Roman font.

  14. One of my favorite quotes from the movie was, “It was more neutral, and neutralism is a word that we loved. it should be neutral. it shouldn’t have a meaning in itself. The meaning is in the content of the text and not in the typeface.

    I personally like the typeface Helvetica. I did not realize just how widespread the typeface actually was. it amazes me on just how universal it is and how clear it is to read. I believe the quote I wrote above is a great example of what Helvetica is about. I may have seen Helvetica more than I actually realize. It is so neutral that the way it is viewed can be changed by who looks at it.

  15. My favorite quote from the film was when Stefan Sagmeister said, “Do not read me, because I will bore the shit out of you.” I personally feel for Stefan because sometimes I also feel as if what I’m talking about is just not holding the attention of my audience. I would argue though that there is always someone interested in something so don’t count yourself out.

    I personally prefer the standard Ariel or Times New Roman just because that’s what I type with so often. This relates back to my quote because Helvetica is used widespread and can be boring to the normal person after seeing it day in and day out. So that’s why some people may prefer other font compared to Helvetica.

  16. My favorite quote was by Paula Scher, She says, “It was some conspiracy of my mothers, to make me keep the house clean.” I think personally, Helvetica is more important to me because this font is very closely tied to my major. In architectural presentation, it is critical to show the client something very clean, simple, and easy to understand. This led most of my colleagues when preparing for our presentation, common font we use is helvetica, It sends the message straight and it is very easy to read and simple meanwhile very eye catching.

  17. My favorite quote from the movie, similar to some others was, “I’m always interested in clarity. It should be clear. It should be readable. It should be straightforward.” I love simple and clear designs and the fonts I use always resemble that.

    After watching this movie, I do like the Helvetica typeface. It is such a widely used font and I never realized just how used it was. It is clear and concise and looks good on whatever you are putting it on. Graphic design is all about being able to convey the message you are trying to create. Helvetica is able to clearly deliver the message without sacrificing aesthetics or readability.

  18. “If something has a very important message, and it set in a boring and non descriptive way, then the message can be lost”.

    This stood out to me a lot based on all of the marketing that is shown on social media. There could be an advertisement that just is not aesthetically pleasing to the users eye while scrolling and it could get pushed off to the side regardless of the strong meaning the ad could have had. In todays society catching the users attention is very important and is a strong part to how a user will react to the message.

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