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Katie Ringenbach_10/6/2010_Notes on Film

•Name of documentary, author/producer, and year.

Helvetica is a production of Swiss Dots, in association with Veer.

©2007 Swiss Dots Ltd.

Produced and Directed by:

Gary Hustwit

Shelby Siegel

• Is it "informational" or "promotional"? support your argument.

I think this documentary is both. Prior to the movie, I never thought twice about Helvetica, now I know
a lot about its history, who uses it and why they use it.
However, the overall theme is Helvetica is a “Mark of membership” and a “badge.” All the professional
typographers in the movie call it perfect. It is used everywhere. I want to belong and will thus use
Helvetica…but I just looked and it is not an option with this version of word.

• Who is the primary audience it aimed at?

People interested in typography

• What is the relevance of it to specific areas/topics of our course?

Typeface means a lot. I never thought about all the messages conveyed by font. I never realized how
many different corporations could use the same font and make it look so different. This is something
else I need to think about

• According to the film, how does type affects our lives?

People even if they aren't aware of associations made with type (such as modern, clean, accountable,
reliable) they are still prompted in subliminal ways by type, to feel something.

Film Notes

Better legibility…clear…modern

Helvetica is the type face we see the most… ubiquitous…beautiful and timeless

Massimo Vigenelli – signs in NYC-MTA

Distance between letters…typography is the space between the blacks…it is white

There are not that many good type faces…maybe a dozen…he uses no more than 3
1950s interesting time for graphic design…rebuild reconstruct…postwar idealism, social responsibility

Swiss designers who really drove this long…Helvetica came in 1957…rationale type face that can be
applied to everything

Typography=creating order

Meaning is in the words not the type itself…helvetica is neautral

Matthew carter- type designers begin with lower case h to know if serif or sans serif and what is the
nature of the serif, what are the proportions of the overall hight…after the h, then the o to see the
weight of the curve versus the straight part of the o…he would then go with a lower case p because you
can build upon these letters…so he can just words based on type face

He likes the lower case horizontal slicing like in the e… a designer cannot look at helvetica and think of
room to improve

It came into being when eduard hoffman wished to modernize a traditional german type, max designed
but hoffman was more infolved than that.

Alfred Horrman and Mike Parker…Edward shy but his notes are all about the relation between the
negative shape…the swiss pay more attention to the background.

Stempel and Haas Linotype now owns helvetica…marketing director renamined it helvetsia-Latin name
of Switzerland, but didn’t want it the name of country so changed it to Helvetica, the type of the swiss

Helvetica the hottest type in history…it ran away…it was what the designers wanted

Corporate identity in the 60s was about modernizing…just like helvetica….clear away the burden of

Corporations and govenmernment love helvetica…neutral….accessible…transparent…accountable…tax

forms are in helvetica…as is the EPA (clean and efficent)

Typeface invites an open interpretation…American Airlines and American Apparel convey totally
different meanings with it…means everything

Prompted in subliminal ways…that is my kind of product…the type casts its secret spell

By the 70s…reaction against the conformity of helvetica…pushpin studios inspired counter culture of
that generation…illustrate the type instead of press type…type can have personality like press type…

Helvetica is boring