Wednesday, 17 October 2007

i heart helvetica (the movie)

Last night was the start of the DesignThinkers 2007 event and it kicked off with the showing of Helvetica at the Regent Theater. A good friend of mine helped to coordinate the event and got me in. I almost feel guilty about watching this amazing film for free. I was the kid in the candy store grinning at the opening sequence which was of a pressman in his shop setting type and printing the title of the movie on a piece of cardstock. That would've been enough for me but I had about 85 more minutes to go.

I don't normally watch documentaries but this film totally rocked my world. It was inspiring. And it does a good job of explaining typography to non-designers as well as speak to people who design for a living. I'd like to think of myself as being somewhere in the middle of that very, very broad spectrum (leaning towards the hobbyist, of course).

Highlights for me included Massimo Vignelli's description of the world suffering from bouts of 'visual disease' where designers do what they can to provide a cure. I wanted to hug the man after he said that.

Funniest parts of the film included camera time on Michael Bierut and Eric Spikermann. I'm going to get the DVD just for the bonus extra 20 minute interview with Eric. Both were refreshing, frank and hilariously candid on their opinions of the font in question.

If you thought designers were quirky creatures then this movie inadvertently plays right into that stereotype. One thing's for sure - the interviewees are passionate when speaking on type. The word "matrix" came out in one of the interviews and I'm pretty sure it sent a ripple of goosebumps across the theatre.

The Q+A that followed the film included a few jabs at comic sans and a threat of a sequel in it's name.

Overall, I hold this film close to my heart. It speaks to me, I relate to it, it says everything I didn't know how to say.


Poppy Letterpress said...

I really must see this. I've heard so much about it now.

It should be compulsory for graphics designers :)

Anonymous said...

My favourite Designthinkers speaker of all time is Massimo V. He is so super cute and he let me lead him around with my bent arm, like a sweet grandpa. Loved him! But you should check out my fav from this year, Jorge Calleja, mmmm, mmmm. Of course he's married with a kid on the way.

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