helvetica

We have always had a deep interest in typography and are continually encouraging those who work with us to explore the history of graphic design. Recently we introduced our newest employee to Helvetica, a 2007 documentary directed by Gary Hustwit. The feature-length independent film focuses on the history, relevance, and controversy of the beloved and in some cases despised typeface.


Eduard Hoffmann's notebook documenting the creation of Helvetica.

Designed in 1957 by Haas salesman and typeface designer, Max Miedinger, Helvetica was a response to the post-war ideals of modernist design. With its unusually tight spacing and large height the type has become a visual staple in global culture consuming the surfaces of our urban landscapes. The film engages influential designers, such as Massimo Vignelli, David Carson, and Erik Speikermann, in candid conversations about the infamous typeface as well as its relevance in the on going differences between modernist and post-modernist ideas. Whether its underground directing us to the right train on the subway or informing us that dark wash jeans are all we need for the fall season, Helvetica has seemingly taken over the legible world.

We can’t help but notice the fierce connection between typeface and the visual input of our everyday lives. We see it everywhere, do you?