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Saturday, August 18, 2012

HELVETICA (2007)

A font freak’s delight! Gary Hustwit’s smartly handled documentary is both a celebration and a skeptical look at the dominant typeface of modernism, the one with the cool, clean design that’s made it our default font. Paradoxically bold & neutral, it’s a graphic design element that’s of our time & timeless. The interviewees, a pleasingly motley crew, don’t bury us with workshop jargon, using a focus that’s broad enough to cover a world’s worth of signage and narrow enough to explain the tiny variables that can affect popular reactions, irregardless of what the text is actually saying. The battle between HELVETICA boosters & naysayers isn’t exactly evenhanded, the negative spinsters put too much faith in ‘70s Pop-Rock album covers and the unreadable mixed fonts of alternative magazines, items that have dated with alarming speed. Still, there’s more fonts than can be found in this film’s philosophy.PAPYRUS, anyone?

 SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Ubiquitous as it undoubtedly is, does anyone dream in Helvetica?

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