Thursday, January 3, 2008

Die Neue Haas Grotesk


Helvetica. Possibly my favorite movie. Not, no, that one would see, it, like, 10 or 2 times, but still. At once a love song and a cutting swipe at a font praised for its "modernity and human-ness" and its "banality and authoritarianism," the documentary is one of the most well done I've seen. I had not read any reviews (just assumed it would be cool) .I'm not going to attempt to be a critic here, but if you love design, philosophy, visual creativity, communication, and humanity -- well. Here you go.

Just a few random notes. The predominantly Swiss and German and male designers interviewed (sigh) all had a single or sometimes double strong vertical line(s) between their eyes like, well, exclamation points, perhaps, from squinting, (that's how you know they're authentic). Thankfully, the vitriol AGAINST Helvetica was proffered with a sense of humor in most cases. The cohesiveness of the movie stemmed from the very font itself: egoless, clean, communicative, and neutral above all else. What came before it, what came after and why -- that's what it's all about. That, and the ubiquity of the font itself, to this day. Bottom line: I laughed ... I cried. 5 stars.

A new crisis. Cat ripped off the Backspace key (oh, look, Helvetica! even though it's not a default font option on my pc or yours) and I'm torn: crazy-glue back on (and all the trouble that can cause*), tap it back on (which makes for MORE mistakes) or leave it off (can I get electrocuted?) and probably get a blood blister on my middle finger after 3 posts) OR just NEVER CHANGE MY MIND AGAIN.

* I once was doing some stupid project probably involving repairing earrings, alone in my large apartment in the East Village, sitting cross-legged on the floor working over a low glass-top and wrought-iron coffee table, not noticing the Crazy Glue pooling just under my forearm and well, suffice it to say, I learned patience that day as my roomate didn't return for hours and even then didn't know how to separate me from the glass. We almost called the Fire Department. And probably should have, as my small scar, nearly two decades later, lingers on.

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