I went to see this rather nifty little movie on my way home last night, partly because it tickled my repressed inner geek, but mostly out of curiosity – how do you make a film about something as simple and unassuming as a typeface? And what kind of person would go and see such a film?
Anyway, it was more interesting than you might imagine, a celebration of 50 years of Helvetica, a font that engenders passionate responses from the designers interviewed. Some think it’s perfect, wonderful, the apex of simple legibility. Another declares ‘I am morally opposed to Helvetica’ and goes on the blame the font for the Iraq war, albeit in a tongue in cheek fashion.
Best of all though, it’s one of those movies that changes the way you see things, draws your attention to things normally overlooked. Although it’s about Helvetica, it’s also about global design culture, about the ideology at work behind our visual communication. And that, I find quite fascinating.
Anyway, here’s a sample, and I recommend it. If you’re in London, it’s showing at the ICA until the end of the month.