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Video: Opening (with Manfred Schulz)

An acclaimed documentary exploring typography, graphic design, and global visual culture through the history of a single typeface—now with an hour of online-exclusive bonus features.
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Video Duration: 0s2h 54m Appropriate for all Jul 11, 2014

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Helvetica is about typography, graphic design, and global visual culture. It looks at a single typeface—one that, for better or worse, has dominated the graphic arts world since its creation in 1957—in a conversation about the way type affects our lives. is proud to host this film in our library—along with an additional hour of online-exclusive bonus content.

The documentary explores urban spaces in major cities and the type that inhabits them, and offers a fluid discussion with renowned designers about their work, the creative process, and the choices and aesthetics behind their use of type. Helvetica encompasses the worlds of design, advertising, psychology, and communication, and invites us to take a second look at the thousands of words we see every day. Interviewees in Helvetica include some of the most illustrious and innovative names in the design world, including Erik Spiekermann, Matthew Carter, Massimo Vignelli, Wim Crouwel, Hermann Zapf, Neville Brody, Stefan Sagmeister, Michael Bierut, David Carson, Paula Scher, Jonathan Hoefler, Tobias Frere-Jones, Experimental Jetset, Michael C. Place, Norm, Alfred Hoffmann, Mike Parker, Bruno Steinert, Otmar Hoefer, Leslie Savan, Rick Poynor, Lars Müller, and many more.

Make sure to watch the bonus features included in the Extras chapter for more insights from these designers.

Gary Hustwit

Opening (with Manfred Schulz)

Type is saying things to us all the time.

Type faces express, a mood. An atmosphere. They give. Words a certain coloring. >> Everywhere you look you see type faces, but this probably one you see more than any other one, and that's Helvetica. You know, there it is, and it just seems to come from nowhere. You know, it seems like air, it seems like gravity,. >> And it's, it's hard to evaluate. It's like being asked what you think of off white paint. It's just. It's just there and it's hard to get your head around something that big.

>> And most people who use Helvetica, use it because it is ubiquitous. It's like going to McDonald's instead of thinking about food. Because it's there, it's on every street corner, so let's eat crap, because it's on the corner. >> For me, Helvetica is just this. Beautiful timeless thing. And, certain things shouldn't be messed with, you know. >> Graphic design, is the communication framework through which these messages about what the world is now. And, what we should aspire to, is the way they reach us. The designer has an enormous responsibility.

Those are the people, you know, putting their wires into our heads.

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