Sunday, February 17, 2008

Interesting Movies about a Lack of Interestingness

This week, we went to a screening of Helvetica over at UCSB. My husband has an obsession with documentaries, so we've seen a lot of them. Some of them are beyond boring and some of them redeem the genre. I fully expected 80 minutes about a boring typeface to fall into the former category. And while it didn't fall into the latter category, either, I learned something, so I guess most documentaries would consider that a win.

The font ended up just being a starting point from which to examine the changes in the graphical design world over the last 50-60 years. Who knew people could get so worked up about how great or evil a font is? The whole film pitted the Helvetica-is-so-clean-there-is-no-confusing-what's-being-said folks against the Helvetica-is-so-regimented-it's-akin-to-"The Man"-keeping-you-down folks. You'd think a little conflict would make for a compelling story, but it barely made a story. At least they tried to have a plot, of sorts.

I guess there's a reason I'm not in graphic design, and I can't really recommend that you run out and watch this immediately. However, if you are interested in the design aspect of various printed materials, you could find this an enlightening little piece. I personally found this a perfect reason to dig up this old YouTube video about a different font. I found this a lot funnier, and it's certainly shorter.

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