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Helvetica Essay

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Introduction

Helvetica: Its significance and its impacts on our society Several years have passed since the birth of the modernists' typeface that had revolutionised the way typography has been depicted in the last 50 years. "What has Helvetica told you today?" (Huswit, Helvetica Trailer, 2007) is a clever metaphor as Helvetica has and is still playing a significant role in our lives; it speaks to us on a daily basis and provides us with important information. We do not realise that Helvetica is everywhere; in fact it is right it front of you. Helvetica is not a raw typeface; the job itself was a re-design of Akzidenz-Grotesk for Max Miedinge. Eduard Hoffmann commissioned it in 1957. In the Haas Type Foundry in Munchenstein, Switzerland, Eduard Hoffmann and Max Miedinger completed the typeface. Originally the typeface was going to be named 'Neue Haas Grotesk', but it was renamed Helvetica, which is Switzerland in Latin, because the typeface was going to be used globally. Since the typeface was going to be utilized world wide, Helvetica had to adhere to different languages and thus had to include special characters, such as the German umlaut. Helvetica was initially released in 1961 and gradually transformed into a corporate typeface. ...read more.

Middle

The signage in New York also uses Helvetica; it appears on their underground train signage. Royal Mail uses Helvetica because the characteristics of the typeface depict what Royal Mail is, respectable, efficient and clear. Helvetica is also commonly used in the authoritative and instructive manner, such as warning signs, 'harmful smoking' messages and generally 'do this' or 'don't do that' signage. It is the typeface of power. Helvetica essentially re-designed the corporate identity in the 1960's, but between the 1970's and the 1980's the typeface became a little simple. This is because of the post-modernist graphic designers' such as David Carson and Neville Brody who threw out the 'instruction manual' on how to perceive typography within graphic design. It was a new generation of young designers who seemed to be indulging in their self-disciplined ways designing new solutions. Designers from the 1960's would assume that this new type of designers would think irrationally. The important question that needs to be asked is, "What is the main point of graphic design?" The answer to this is quite simple, to communicate a message. Then, why do postmodernists feel that it is essential to graphically depict typography? Gary Hustwit made a documentary film about Helvetica is not just because of its 50th birthday, but also because of the re-birth of modernism during the 1990's and 2000's. ...read more.

Conclusion

Everyone sees Helvetica, even if they are not aware about it, but it is everywhere and people will have seen it more than ten times a day. This celebration of Helvetica will be the first of many to come; the typeface has had a strong existence in the first fifty years and there is no reason for it to not be used commonly in the future. Helvetica, the extended documentary film, has been released for about a year, but enthusiastic typographers will continue their discussion about why the typeface is perfect or why it's boring. Many people utilize Helvetica because it accomplishes the job, but several people advocate the use of a typeface, which is graphically explaining the word. Watching the documentary will give the audience some interesting comments and opinions about the use of the typeface from great contemporary graphic designers. The documentary contains various views both good and bad about the typeface Helvetica. By viewing the excellent documentary, the audience can derive their own perception of Helvetica, but there is one thing that is quite evident. Helvetica has inevitably become a significant part of our everyday life; the ubiquity of the typeface has metaphorically integrated itself into our lives through its increasing popularity. Thus, if Helvetica did not exist, our lives would be incredibly different. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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