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View Full Version : Helvetica, BBC ONE, Tuesday, 6th November 10:35pm




iGav
Nov 6, 2007, 05:44 AM
Helvetica is a shorter version of the feature-length film by Gary Hustwit about the most popular typeface in the world, which celebrates its 50th birthday this year. Why Helvetica? Because it is everywhere. Millions of people use it and read it everyday, on public transport, newspapers, shop fronts and, of course, their computers.

The film tells the story of how a typeface drawn by a little-known Swiss designer in 1957 became one of the most popular ways for us to communicate. It has been described as the Kate Moss of fonts - ultrathin, misunderstood and plastered all over the tabloids. The Museum of Modern Art in New York even staged an exhibition devoted to it.

Interviews with some of the big names in graphic design like Neville Brody, Rick Poyner and Massimo Vignelli (who used it in the American Airlines logo which has remained unchanged since 1966) help tell the history of this elegant, modern design. In the beginning it was prized for its quality of clarity and neutrality. It cut through the clutter of 50s advertising to convey the corporate image. Then it became almost the default font for governments, global corporations, bureaucracy and capitalism. One counter-culture designer recalls that “if you used it, it meant you were in favour of the Vietnam war.”

Though Helvetica has gone in and out of fashion it has never gone away. The film asks whether this is a symptom of globalisation or simply a reflection that it is the ultimate typeface. Or, as one interviewee puts it, "it seems to come from nowhere ... it seems like air, like gravity.” Love it or loathe it, it is a design masterpiece.

Finally the BBC broadcasts something worth watching, excellent (http://www.bbc.co.uk/imagine/article/helvetica.shtml).



iBlue
Nov 6, 2007, 05:51 AM
your quote is a little messed up, BTW

I like this part: "It has been described as the Kate Moss of fonts - ultrathin, misunderstood and plastered all over the tabloids." :D


but I'm not so sure I want to see a programme about a font. :p

l33r0y
Nov 6, 2007, 05:56 AM
Damn... Did I miss the episode on Arial?

iGav
Nov 6, 2007, 05:58 AM
your quote is a little messed up, BTW

Should be sorted now, :), I've been having a few problems with MR recently.

but I'm not so sure I want to see a programme about a font.

Philistine. ;)

Blue Velvet
Nov 6, 2007, 06:01 AM
Essential watching for all those who have read anything anywhere in a public space. :p

Regardless of subject matter, supposed to be a good film. Does anyone know what's different, what's missing, from the longer version? I want to see the extras on the DVD. :D

BBC One as well... absolutely worth watching; learn something today about something that is all around us, almost all the time.

iBlue
Nov 6, 2007, 06:01 AM
...Philistine. ;)

I resent that!

mpw
Nov 6, 2007, 06:09 AM
...but I'm not so sure I want to see a programme about a font. :p

Channel 5, late night - "When Good Fonts Go Bad"

Damn... Did I miss the episode on Arial?
Didn't Disney make a movie about her?

bartelby
Nov 6, 2007, 06:21 AM
Balls, too many Comic Sans posts already!:(

I was going to say:

I hope I've missed the Comic Sans episode!

dcv
Nov 6, 2007, 09:26 AM
Damn... Did I miss the episode on Arial?

No but it's a good job I've just had mine fixed or I'd miss tonight's episode :p

Applespider
Nov 6, 2007, 10:33 AM
Thanks for spotting and posting about this or I'd have been really annoyed to realise I'd missed it.

Am sending an email home to remind me to turn the TV on tonight.

Jaffa Cake
Nov 6, 2007, 01:41 PM
Thanks for mentioning it's on, iGav – I would have missed it otherwise.

The Sky+ has been set, and Miss Jaffa Cake is now laughing at me. I note from the description on the Sky channel thingy that this programme 'contains strong language', so clearly Comic Sans does rear its head at some point. :D

elppa
Nov 6, 2007, 03:07 PM
Note how the description on the BBC website is of course in… Arial.

MrSmith
Nov 6, 2007, 10:36 PM
Presumably there was no sex or violence in this one, then?

displaced
Nov 7, 2007, 02:03 AM
Thanks for spotting and posting about this or I'd have been really annoyed to realise I'd missed it.

Bah.

I missed it and I'm really annoyed.

I'll scour the schedules tonight looking for a repeat. I imagine it'll find its way onto BBC 2 or BBC 4 at some point again...

bartelby
Nov 7, 2007, 02:07 AM
Balls. I missed it too!

sananda
Nov 7, 2007, 02:25 AM
it's a shame i couldn't see this as i'm away from england.