“It’s air, you know. It’s just there.”

23 Feb

{My first repost, on the occasion of yet another class seeing Helvetica.}

I just showed Gary Hustwit’s documentary, Helvetica, in my type class this afternoon. I have now seen it six or seven times, and I never fail to learn from it. What I most appreciate about this film is the breadth of perspectives and emotion relating to what was first called Haas Neue Grotesk: acceptance, reaction, re-acceptance, boredom, satisfaction.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite lines from the film (thanks to IMDB):

You can say, ‘I love you,’ in Helvetica. And you can say it with Helvetica Extra Light if you want to be really fancy. Or you can say it with the Extra Bold if it’s really intensive and passionate, you know, and it might work. Massimo Vignelli

The meaning is in the content of the text and not in the typeface, and that is why we loved Helvetica very much. Wim Crouwel

It’s air, you know. It’s just there. There’s no choice. You have to breathe, so you have to use Helvetica. Erik Spiekermann

I think I’m right calling Helvetica the perfume of the city. It is just something we don’t notice usually but we would miss very much if it wouldn’t be there. Lars Müller

I’m obviously a typeomaniac, which is an incurable if not mortal disease. I can’t explain it. I just love, I just like looking at type. I just get a total kick out of it: they are my friends. Other people look at bottles of wine or whatever, or, you know, girls’ bottoms. I get kicks out of looking at type. It’s a little worrying, I admit, but it’s a very nerdish thing to do. Erik Spiekermann

When you talk about the design of Haas Neue Grotesk or Helvetic, what it’s all about is the interrelationship of the negative shape, the figure-ground relationship, the shapes between characters and within characters, with the black, if you like, with the inked surface. And the Swiss pay more attention to the background, so that the counters and the space between characters just hold the letters. I mean you can’t imagine anything moving; it is so firm. It not a letter that bent to shape; it’s a letter that lives in a powerful matrix of surrounding space. It’s… oh, it’s brilliant when it’s done well. Mike Parker

It’s The Real Thing. Period. Coke. Period. Any Questions? Of Course Not. Michael Bierut




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One Response to ““It’s air, you know. It’s just there.””

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention “It’s air, you know. It’s just there.” « Delineation of Design -- Topsy.com - February 25, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by David Mearns, ASI Signage. ASI Signage said: It's not possible to say you've lived until you've seen a film dedicated to…a font. http://ow.ly/42ol9 […]

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