If you get half a chance or even just a quarter, hop, skip and rampage down to your local fleapit for 80 action-packed minutes about Helvetica, the typeface that turns heads, stomachs, and 50 this year.
From the scatty, yet totally lovable absolutism of Erik Spiekermann to the deadpan hilarity of Michael Bierut, Helvetica unwittingly uncovers a world of deeply funny and insanely passionate visionaries, all engaged in either a love affair or vendetta with the typeface that has come to exemplify modernism in everyday communication. In a way the documentary is about more than just a typeface, it handles the relationship between ardour and craft beautifully and also looks beyond the letters on the page, most enjoyably when Paula Scher playfully holds it accountable for American transgressions in Vietnam and Iraq.
And if that wasn’t enough to be going on with the soundtrack is a post-rock treat and a half, mostly down to El Ten Eleven.
And to cap off, a good round-up of its success so far, with a lovely payoff at the end.