Helvetica is a feature-length independent film by Gary Hewitt, about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface (which is celebrating its 50th birthday this year) as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives. (http://www.helveticafilm.com/) Helvetica introduces type as more than common. A specialized design discipline.
A lecture by Henk Groenendijk on experiments in type design, related to ‘developping cultural and economical progress in the 1950-’70, gave more insight in the context that proved so fertile for Helvetica’s rise to stardom.
Time and space is a given phenomenon in education at the Rietveld Academie, where things constantly present themselves in past and contemporary creative projects. As an almost casual gesture, some 2nd year students from the graphic design department dropped by to present their recent type designs in progress.
Finally research material was edited down to A4 sized guided tours into selected subjects. All subjects presented in this list are also available as hard copy research prints at the ResearchFolders available at the Rietveld library.
As usual we selected subjects with a direct connection to the context of the presented material in this classbloc. In this case Helvetica the Movie” and its content, was researched through subjects like the Corporate Alphabet, Wim Crouwel, Laurenz Brunner, Experimental Jetset, Norm type design and their publication “TheThing” or Letterpress.
The lecture gave a much broader perspective from which researches like de Stijl fonts, Buro Destruct, Zaph Dingbats, the Univers Font, Systemfonts, Swiss Style/Modernisme, Guy Rombout‘s AZart and Edward Fella were initiated. Widening the discussion towards the Helvetica subject by adding links to the actuality, some more subjects were added, Jonathan Barnbrook. Richard Niessen, Type Radio, Emigre‘s Zuzana Licko, Jonathan Puckey‘s Type Tool, the mysterious typebased posters of Michel Schuurman and ultimately the concept of Dead Type by Hansjakob Fehr