Does it make me impossibly dorkwad that I’m irritable about this movie not even being available for pre-reservation on my Netflix list?
The film traces Helvetica from its roots in the modernist movement of the 1950s. Originally called Neue Haas Grotesk, it was renamed Helvetica (the Latin name for Switzerland) in the early 1960s, just as Swiss design was becoming wildly popular.
It was picked up by corporations (Lufthansa, BASF, BMW and dozens of others) as a clean type ideal for their logos, and was embraced in North America just as the modernist “international style” of architecture was sweeping the continent. One of Helvetica’s appealing features was its apparent neutrality, along with its geometric, engineered look. Many designers liked that the words themselves were pre-eminent, not the typeface itself.
No problem if I should want (I don’t) to pre-reserve a copy of Shrek the Third, or rent one of 33,000,000 copies of Borat, of course, but no typeface documentary for me. What a country!