As a design student, the big thing for all of us was that figure grade relationship that the Swiss did so well. And Trade Gothic just didn't have it, it was News Gothic under another name. It was intertype name so we couldn't use it. It was a good job, but it was a 1900 design, that had been popular ever since. And it was clear that whoever got in there first with a really good figure ground Swiss sans serif.
It would be the big hit. Jacksonburg was the director of typographic development at Morgenthaler, which was a hugely powerful position. Jacksons, just thought of it as European, not for us. So, pne day he called me in the big desk, he said I'm going to retire shortly, six months maybe nine. Is there anything, and I will recommend you for the job, is there anything you'd like me to do. And I thought, oh hell.
You know do I, so I said I think the single most important thing is for us to cut a Swiss sans-serif and Helvetica would be the logical choice. And he looked at me like I just shot him. Thought about it, said nothing, and I left. And about four month later, I met him in the car, and he said, oh by the way Mike you'll be please to hear, I think, that the German drawings for Helvetica will be at the drawing department upstairs next week.
And perhaps you'd like to go look at 'em, and maybe there's something you'd like to do with 'em.
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.