Helvetica: A Film by Gary Hustwit

I watched Helvetica earlier this week and thought I would write my thoughts and opinions on the film as well on the huge influential and probably the most discussed typeface ever.

I actually began watching the film as a last resort, thinking it would be extremely boring and monotonous to listen to various type and design professionals either moan or praise Helvetica but in actual fact is was very interesting. The film gives a run down of the history and development of the typeface, Helvetica (an apparantly cleaner akzidenz grotesk).

I personally really like the font and see nothing wrong with using it, or its overuse for that matter. Why has it been used so much? Because it works, I dont think that that makes it worth a debate. I find it quite amusing when so many people (including very well known designers) have such an issue with the typeface being used; If anything I have a feeling that such people are somewhat jealous that they didnt design it themselves.

The type has gone through various versions and revisions, as wellas going through a stage of overuse, followed by a stage of almost boycotting of the type family before returning to its rightful place within society, being used, when a neutral type is required.

When watching the documentary I found the positive comments and discussions from certain type designers much more of worth than some of the almost immature accusations which people put on the typeface. In particular I found the section in which Experimental Jetset discussed their opinions of the type extremely interesting. Their opinion is that Helvetica is a font that saves a designer looking through all their fonts as it is well rounded and suits such a huge number of jobs. An opinion that by and large I totally agree with, if it aint broke dont fix it!

Many similar fonts exist (Akzidenz Grotesk, Univers,etc) including almost direct copies due to licensing issues(Microsoft' Arial), however, after watching the documentary and listening to the different designer's opinions, as well as using the typeface myself, I have decided that Helvetica as a typeface deserves a certain amount of respect due to it being the most heavily used type as well its overall neutral, well balanced forms, in the huge amount of versions and weights avaliable.

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