It’s the font that changed the way we look at the world. Now it’s the film that’s changing the way we look at fonts.
ITVS Community Cinema, a free documentary screening series sponsored by Nashville Public Television and Nashville Public Library, is proud to present HELVETICA, a film about how the world’s most ubiquitous typeface changed global visual culture. The screening, sponsored along with the American Advertising Federation-Nashville, will take place Wednesday, December 17, at 6 p.m. at Nashville Public Library and will be followed by a panel discussion. Participants are invited to come early for a wine and cheese reception at 5:15 p.m., where they can also make their own Helvetica-lettered holiday craft to take home (RSVP required by emailing rsvp[at]wnpt.net).
The Library is located at 615 Church St. in downtown Nashville.
Born in 1957 of Swiss origin, Helvetica was a typeface for the modern age. Sleek, streamlined and simple, it became the font that launched a thousand corporate logos—from Minneapolis to Melbourne to Munich. As neutral as the country of its birth, Helvetica was capable of being invested with the aspirations of millions of consumer products, a typeface whose meaning was created in the eye of the beholder.
From the New York City subways to the vacation getaway ads in your morning newspaper to the Push and Pull signs on your office door, the Helvetica typeface has made a sans-serif assault on the world since its creation in 1957. A hit at the SXSW Film Festival, Gary Hustwit‘s film asks, how did a typeface drawn by a little-known Swiss designer become one of the most popular ways for us to communicate our words more than 50 years later? And what are the repercussions of that popularity? Has it resulted in the globalization of our visual culture? How do we interact with type on a daily basis? And what about the effects of technology on type and graphic design and the ways we consume it? Most of us use computers and digital fonts every day, so are we all graphic designers now, in a sense?