The film begins with a close up of a typographer's hands, selecting metal type from a case, building a line of type for an old-school proof press.
I'm talking about Gary Hustwit's film Helvetica, a gorgeous documentary about a typeface's birth and cultural impact.
Helvetica features beautiful filmwork, an interesting storyline, fascinating interviews and a killer soundtrack. It's a joy to watch Hustwit blend visuals, sound and voice into a compelling story of one typeface's impact on our culture.
I love the wide selection of interviewees Hustwit chooses — old-school and young gun designers, typographers and design critics, those who love Helvetica and those who abhor it. The film's broad spectrum of voices provides a full picture of Helvetica, the neutral Swiss typeface that somehow draws out extreme opinions.
See this film! See it even if you aren't a designer, but especially if you're a designer.
You'll gain insight into the making of a typeface. You'll gain a deeper understanding of how fundamentally typography shapes design, advertising, street signs, packaging: even common items like government forms. You'll be surprised.
For a taste of the film, here's an 8 minute selection of clips for your viewing pleasure:
Check it out! You won't be disappointed. :-)