Join Gary Hustwit for an in-depth discussion in this video Linotype, part of Helvetica.
- View Offline
Now we go down to the cellar and see in our archives where we can find Helvetica. >> And here we have number 24. And there it is woo, the Helvetica drawings. >> The marketing director at Stempel had the idea to give it a better name because Neue Haas Grotesk, didn't sound very good for a the type face that was intended to be sold in the United States.
>> Stempel suggested the name of Helvetia, this is very important. Helvetia is the latin name of Switzerland. And my father said that is impossible, you, you cannot, you cannot call a typeface after a name of a county. So, he said why don't we call it Helvetica. So, in other words, this would be the Swiss typeface.
And they agreed. >> And I think it really was the perfect name at that time. And since we at that time, also was well known world-wide, so it was the best solution for Helvetica to get into the market. >> Once we'd introduced Helvetica, it really ran away. It was exactly what the designers were looking for. I mean I don't think there's been such a hot thing since as the figure ground relationship properly executed.
And it was, oh, just a landslide waiting to go down the mountain. You know, and away it went.
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.