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Helvetica: A Documentary for Type Geeks and Interested Bystanders

April 13th, 2008
Marketing Advertising Blog — VuManhThang.Com

Helveticaposter
I’m a typography geek. Always have been. Always will be. I love not only words, but the way words are put onto a page. And I discovered an abolute delight of a documentary: Helvetica. Yes, a documentary devoted to a typeface. Sounds boring, I know. But, it is not.

If you enjoy the art of typography, then you must see this documentary on the world’s most ubiquitous typeface: Helvetica. It is one of the most legible typefaces ever created, arguably the most legible. You probably don’t even notice it, but it is everywhere. Some find its ominipresence distressing, others regard it as comforting.

This documentary tells the story of the typeface and how it has been received, used, and either accepted or rejected. I’ve decided to switch this blog site over to Helvetica, and I like what I see.

Years ago I chose two main faces for as much of my work as possible: Optima and Minion. They are still two of my favorites, but press me on my favorite typeface of all time and it will always be Helvetica. I never knew why. Now I do. And, if you watch this documentary, just count how many times a certain brand of computer appears.

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Categories: Art
  1. E Davis
    April 13th, 2008 at 19:08 | #1

    My first degree was in Graphic Arts Technology, and this documentary sounds fascinating. I used to be one of those who was distressed at the prevalence of only fonts like Helvetica. However, over time, I have come to love them. I have been using Helvetica in my papers for the last couple of years (I still dread Times New Roman – Garamond is far superior), and it is easily my favorite sans-serif font. I have put the documentary on my Netflix queue, with the result that my wife rolled her eyes.
    McCain:
    I think your wife will actually find it quite fascinating. It’s proven to be quite a popular documentary even with people who know nothing about typography.

  2. Josh
    April 13th, 2008 at 20:56 | #2

    What are your feelings about Garamond? It is probably my current favorite typeface.
    McCain: I have always liked it, until I try to use it in a document. I’ve rarely ever set anything in Garamond because, to me, it is not as legible as I prefer and has a kind of “thinness” to it that I do not care for.

  3. April 13th, 2008 at 22:17 | #3

    Remember:
    Accept no substitutes! Arial is *not* Helvetica!

  4. April 14th, 2008 at 08:26 | #4

    Personally I’m a serif man. And my definition of a really good font is one in which the capital “J” extends below the baseline.
    The documentary sounds interesting, though.

  5. April 14th, 2008 at 10:00 | #5

    I can’t wait for the sequel! Arial: a tale of subversion and betrayal.
    Being in the printing industry myself, I really find it astounding how universal Helvetica has become, far more so when you add its “Neue” variants (regular, black, heavy, light, medium, thin, ultra light, extra-black, multiplied by 3 when you add the condensed and extended versions of most of these). There is hardly a job we print that doesn’t have one of them.
    Then throw in its many knock-offs (of which Arial is only the latest in a series of them). It’s a super-star, no doubt.
    I too have been using Minion for my own work, sermons in particular, for a while now, although I have been flirting with Jenson a little bit. But I think we all agree: Times is right out.
    So, umm, why is the first volume of Gerhardt’s Loci printed in Times???

  6. April 14th, 2008 at 23:24 | #6

    Ever checked out the site Identifont?

  7. Norman Teigen
    April 15th, 2008 at 09:52 | #7

    I prefer Palatino but thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  8. Don, the Rebel without a Blog
    April 15th, 2008 at 14:09 | #8

    I have three words for you: Times New Roman.
    And I have one word for you, about TNR: UGLY

  9. wcwirla
    April 16th, 2008 at 11:10 | #9

    Hail Helvetica!
    Clean, crisp, legible. Friend of preachers who read from their notes and farsighted professors who have to endure bad term papers. Leave the sissy serifs for titles and subtitles, I say. Helvetica – bold, manly, enduring. The way a font ought to be.

  10. April 18th, 2008 at 06:32 | #10

    I like Helvetica. But i have to disagree with Pr. Cwirla. The reason why serifs are good is that they assist in moving the eye from one character to the next. That is a HUGE reason why I don’t like the newest edition of Dr. Voelz’s Greek book. I would love to know what CPH was thinking with the typeface.

  11. April 20th, 2008 at 13:10 | #11

    Wow, you really are a geek. ;)
    I’m a Palatino Linotype girl, but I only use it for Yahoo chat and boy birth announcements. I collect fonts for all the birth announcements.
    Every time I want a nice simple and classy font, I go to Arial because it’s the first such font alphabetically. I always end up annoyed that it’s not as attractive as I had in mind. I’m going to play with Helvetica now. Thanks!

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