27 March 2008


I finally got around to watching Gary Hustwit's documentary on Helvetica.The typeface, which was designed by Max Miedinger, recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2007. In fifty short years it has become the most widely used sans-serif typeface in the world. Now that's really something.

Here are some interesting quotes from Hustwit's film:

"The life of a designer is a life of fight: fight against the ugliness. Just like a doctor fights against disease. For us, the visual disease is what we have around, and what we try to do to cure it somehow, with design." -Massimo Vignelli, Graphic Designer

"You can't do better design with a computer, but you can speed up your work enourmously" - Wim Crouwel aka "Gridnik", Graphic Designer
"When you talk about the design of Haas Neue Grotesk or Helvetica, what it's all about is the interrelationship of the negative shape, the figure-ground relationship, the shapes between characters and within characters, with the black if you like, with the inked surface. And the Swiss pay more attention to the background, so that the counters and the space between characters just hold the letters. I mean you can't imagine anything moving; it is so firm. It's not a letter that's bent to shape; it's a letter that lives in a powerful matrix of surrounding space. It's...oh it's brilliant when it's done well." - Mike Parker, Typepographer

"The Helvetica was a real step from the 19th century typeface...We were impressed by that because it was more neutral and neutralism was a word that we loved. It should be neutral. It shouldn't have a meaning itself. The meaning is in the content of the text and not in the typeface." -Wim Crouwel, Graphic Designer

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