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Helvetica… The film


Happy Birthday Helvetica2007 celebrates Helvetica’s 50th birthday. To celebrate it’s birthday, director Gary Hustwit filmed a documentary shot all around the world focusing on the use and history of the Helvetica typeface. – Helvetica is one of the most commonly used typefaces in the design world. From want ads to billboards, Helvetica is everywhere.

About the font: Helvetica was created by Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann at the Haas’sche Schriftgießerei (Haas type foundry) of Münchenstein, Switzerland. Practitioners of what would be known as the International Typographic Style (also called the Swiss Style) such as Josef Muller-Brockmann had popularized the use of sans-serif fonts like Akzidenz Grotesk which was created more than 50 years earlier in 1896 and marketed by the German type foundry Berthold. Haas set out to design a new sans-serif typeface that could compete with Akzidenz in the Swiss market. Originally called Neue Haas Grotesk, the typeface’s name was changed by Haas’ German parent company Stempel in 1960 to Helvetica — derived from Helvetia, the Latin name for Switzerland — in order to make it more marketable internationally.

About the film: Helvetica is a feature-length independent film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface (which will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2007) as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives. The film is an exploration of urban spaces in major cities and the type that inhabits them, and a fluid discussion with renowned designers about their work, the creative process, and the choices and aesthetics behind their use of type.

Here are some common uses of Helvetica:

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