Friday, November 30

Helvetica


Please buy or rent the documentary Helvetica celebrating 50 years of the ubiquitous if somewhat bland typeface.

I'm a huge fan of the modernist movement, so unless you are German or Swiss you should not design typefaces*. However, Hermann Zapf is living proof that just being German doesn't guarantee your fonts are any good.

* British design genius Neville Brody appears in the film, but he is the exception that proves the rule.

Also in the documentary, Erik Spiekermann shows that Germans can actually be funny! Link to his blog

Part 2
Demonstrating how hack most US typographers are, Tobias Frere-Jones tells a shitty tale regarding letter-spacing on a dry cleaner's sign. He drops his fiancée into the story, and it seems totally manufactured to prove he is not asexual.

His partner in crime, (because bad design should be punished) Jonathan Hoefler rolls out some crap regarding typographic integrity in period films. Here's ALL you need to know about Hoefler.


He designed Hoefler Text. Alphabetically on most lists it comes after (the World's worst typeface) Hobo. It's the font list equivalent of living next to a pig farm. Doesn't matter how well crafted it is, it still stinks.

American typographer Morris Benton designed many great fonts, but he also drew Hobo and frankly that cancels out his whole body of work.

New tangent. If lead singer of The Time, Morris Day and his sidekick partner Jerome Benton became a celebrity couple, their portmanteau could be MorrisBenton. Wow! That's specialist. Am I the only person making references to typographic design and Prince side projects in one fell swoop?

Part 3
So as not to be accused of Anti-Americanism, David Carson is a genius. He designed Ray Gun in the 90's. It's unreadable typography challenged design sensibilities although David admits many of his so called daring type treatments were mistakes made at the proofing stage!

Best story from the Ray Gun years? One of the magazine writers submitted a bland, generic story about Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music fame. Carson found the text so boring that during the layout phase, he went down his whole font list to the alphabetical end. He changed and subsequently printed the article in Zapf Dingbats, the symbol-only font.

A dick move? For sure! As a fan of ballsy design I love this guy, however I married a writer, so let's keep it quiet shall we?

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