I saw the one on Helvetica on PBS a month or so ago. That was fascinating. The film is far more about life than just signs and letter styles. I leaned towards the one German guy who hates Helvetica. Denouncing it as a sterile, lifeless, “controlling” type font.
Strangely, I have had Helvetica sitting on my shelf for about six months now, but never got to watch it. I used to be quite fanatical about typography, where I was a member of a number of type clubs, read many type books, tried creating my own typeface, etc., until one day I realized that there was only about a handful of typefaces that I really liked—helvetica being one of them—and I calmed down.
Another of my favourite fonts is DIN (the “German Autobahn typeface”).
I guess I could go on about fonts for hours, so I’ll better stop here. :-)
Yeah, that’s a neat one too. I know virtually nothing about typefaces; my mother used to do graphic design and I can remember her sitting around with loads of cut-out type around, which I thought was really cool. But then with the advent of word processing programs and their multiple fonts, it just all got too crazy too fast. I tend to stick to Courier, just because it seems clean to me and easy to read. (But that’s for documents and word processing).
I’d be interested to hear what you think of the films if and when you see them.
Agree - many people can enjoy the film. I enjoyed it especially as we do quite a bit of desktop publishing in our department, and I’m familiar with a lot of the basic concepts. However, my husband still found the film very interesting, even though it’s not something he would normally show an interest in.
“The typeface is derived from simple geometric forms (near-perfect circles, triangles and squares) and is based on strokes of near-even weight, which are low in contrast.”
I find it very clean cut and use it a lot at work. I am partial to the sans-serif. However, I do like to mix it up, using a clean document with good old Times New Roman for headers and sub-headers, and Futura for the body. I think they contrast nicely as long as the rest of the document is not cluttered.
Finally got to see “Helvetica.” Not bad, except for when the designers try to play psychologists in the documentary, speculating why Helvetica has been so popular.
I myself went through the crazy, David-Carson (“Ray Gun” magazine) nineties, trying to experiment with different typefaces only to later come back to the more traditional and cleaner ones.
I obviously have my own reasons why I like Helvetica (except for the thinner weights), but why the font has remained so popular for this long is a mystery to me. Also, the one thing they didn’t mention in the documentary (one which I thought they should have mentioned) is that Helvetica doesn’t really work well for a larger amount of body copy. A lot of sans serif fonts have this problem, but then, there are many that work quite well, like Univers, Frutiger or Franklin Gothic, for example. Helvetica just seems too chunky when used in a body copy.