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Helvetica Summary

Gary Hustwit

Helvetica

by Gary Hustwit

Helvetica

Gary Hustwit

Clock Icon5 min
Insight Icon3 key insights
Audio IconVisual, audio & text

Helvetica is a documentary that explores the history of the world's most-used typeface, from how the font first came into being, how it became so popular, and how it remains so widely used more than 50 years later.

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Helvetica

by Gary Hustwit

Helvetica

Gary Hustwit

Overview

Although it may have been the butt of a joke in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, this 2007 documentary toured film festivals around the world, and was nominated for the 'Truer Than Fiction Award' in the 2008 Independent Spirit Awards.

Whether you realize it or not, one typeface in particular is the darling of graphic designers around the world. Described as 'beautiful' and 'timeless', Helvetica is ubiquitous; we see it in street signs, company logos, newsletters, adverts, and much more. Featuring interviews with leading graphic and type designers in the industry, this documentary discusses typography and graphic design, centering specifically on the history of this popular typeface, and its development through modernism and postmodernism.

Most of us rarely give typography much thought, let alone about how it's the 'ultimate fight against ugliness'. However, typefaces are important for expressing mood, atmosphere, and identity. This documentary highlights not only how important typography is in our modern world, but how influential Helvetica has been in developing the typeface of our society.

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Favorite Quote

"In a way, Helvetica is a club. It's a mark of membership; it's a badge that says we're part of modern society, we share the same ideals. It's well-rounded; it's not going to be damaging or dangerous."

Neville Brody

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