Helvetica. Nicole Inniss

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From watching the movie I came to the realization of how a typeface can represent so much more than words on the paper. I live in the suburbs outside of New York City and I’m there virtually there every weekend and I never realized how much Helvetica there was on every corner. Watching the film it was nice to get both sides of the field of those in favor and those not in favor of the typeface.

I do like the clean-cut feeling Helvetica does give off and I think its a great typeface to playoff of if what you are trying to communicate isnt exactly “clean” or “socially correct.” The movie inspired me to used the curvatures and display of how words looks to get across certain messages ironically that most may not get a first, but will understand afterwards.

I made a t-shirt based off watching this movie  : )


Helvetica post Patricia Garcia

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It’s fascinating how one typeface can be considered “the everyday font”. I was not aware that Helvetica was the typeface used for so many famous logos such as Sears, Target, Greyhound, Jeep, Toyota, Verizon, American Apparel, etc. It is the typeface of an entire city! Even though it was created in 1957, Helvetica has become the face of modernism and the modern corporation. I appreciated that the documentary interviewed both graphic designers and typographers that believe Helvetica is “perfect”, the “ultimate typeface”, and those who criticize its uniformity, rigidity, and its association with capitalism and bureaucracy. Personally, I like the fact that this typeface is so common. It is commonly used because it is simple and can evoke anything you want it to from instructions on a subway to a famous airline’s logo. I enjoyed learning about the history behind Helvetica and its influence in our culture today. After watching this documentary, I feel like a little kid playing I Spy trying to find Helvetica in my everyday life. This documentary also made me think about how typefaces influence my opinion of the brands and signs I see them on. I can no longer look at any object, brand name, etc. without appreciating, criticizing, or analyzing the typeface used and thinking about what that typeface says or means to me.


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I found “Helvetica” to be a very interesting documentary. One would never think that one typeface could produce so much controversy and debate. Helvetica was created in 1957 and is the most commonly used typeface in the history of the printed word. Erik Spiekermann dismisses Helvetica as the “typographical equivalent of junk food,” and Paula Scher explains that she was “morally opposed” to Helvetica as the typeface of corporate and military tyranny during the Vietnam era. On the other hand, there is just as much support for the use of Helvetica. Michael Bierut claims that Helvetica has an “inherent rightness” that can’t be improved upon. Director, Gary Hustwit explains that it’s just too versatile to vanish from our use. The documentary reveals the fascinating truth of how much goes into the creation and choice of a typeface (i.e. psychology, nature, advertising, etc.).


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What really struck me about Helvetica is how much a popular typeface says about the social, economic and even political climate of the time.  The fact that Helvetica was suddenly thought so “perfect” that it appears everywhere is a reflection of globalization.

There’s something strange about a typeface that can suddenly fit in everyday commercial design, basic safety and information design, high-end design and corporate identity.  The “global” and “every day” appeal of it almost makes it a typeface you want to stay away from.  The fact that it is everywhere, it takes away from Helvetica as an element of design because it becomes an element of everyday environment.

Helvetica by Nicole Wageck

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I personally really like the way Helvetica is used in everyday life. It is the default typeface for everything, i think. I never noticed before but when they were going around New York City and pointing out everything that was used in Helvetica it really hit me how modern this typeface is. It is so true that Helvetica cleaned up the design world from the 50’s to the 60’s. I really like the simple design of this typeface. To me, this typeface is used for very organic clean designs. That is what I think of when I see it and that is why I like it. I didn’t really understand why some designers don’t like it. I thought it was funny when one designer was talking about how it is unrecognizable as any brand, unlike the way the typeface used for Marlboro stands out. Which is true in some ways, because when I think of Helvetica, before I watched this movie, I couldn’t have picked out a specific brand it reminded me of. But, everything uses it, target, urban outfitters, american apparel. I think that Helvetica will be around forever.

Helvetica- Jenna Maldiner

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I actually found this documentary to be quite interesting.  I thought the most interesting part of the film is how they showed all the different examples of items whether it be a billboard, a flyer, or company logos that all use Helvetica.  I never realized that all of these different things that you see everyday all were in Helvetica.  In the film they repeated how Helvetica is modern, readable, and has the ability to carry multiple different types of messages reiterating that it is a “neutral” typeface.  Though I definitely see how this is true I don’t firmly believe that this is the only typeface capable of being “neutral” or versatile.  Some interesting commentary in the film was how they described the typeface to have the perfect balance of push and pull, and how “helvetica is the perfume of the city”.  I also found it interesting how the name Helvetica means “the Switzerland” and how a typeface is named after a country.  Before taking this class I didn’t really see how (actually the phrase they used in the film) about how typeface can be used as a “weapon” could be true but I definitely see how much of an impact typeface has on how we portray things.  Additionally I didn’t realize that the American Airlines logo was in Helvetica which is also the typeface for American Apparel and though they both begin with the same word in the same typeface they have a completely different feel.  By showing the many different uses of Helvetica I understand why it is widely popular and how it is a typeface that will never go out of use.

Helvetica by Yunjia Ge

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I enjoyed this documentary movie a lot! Helvetica wasn’t one one of the typefaces that is familiar to me. However, after I have watched this movie, I got to know whole a lot more about the history and influence of this typeface. I was surprised realize how often this sans serif typeface appears in our daily lives. It is used everywhere from street signs, company logos, to magazine head lines. I was especially amazed by the fact that so many companies used Helvetica in there logo designs: Target, BMW, American Apparels,  Verizon, Greyhound, just to name a few. One of the greatest aspect of this typeface is that it has amazing rich diversity when talking about represent meanings and feelings. I have notices that these companies which used Helvetica are not necessarily in the similar industry. In fact, they have are among a significant range. This can help explain why Helvetica is so commonly used in this world. It would definitely be a great try if I was stuck with choosing typefaces next time when dealing with my project.

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