Helvetica – the documentary

Why would one watch a documentary about the font Helvetica? Well it is much more than that. It’s a documentary about typography, graphic design, and global visual culture.

We use it every day on our computers, we see it on street signs — and we take it for granted. Now, Gary Hustwit’s unique documentary introduces us to Helvetica, a font whose readability has made it the most popular font in the world. (Netflix)

This movie is NOT just for typographers or graphic designers.  It’s a bit geeky but very interesting.  This font changed the world in many ways.

Netflix has it available to rent on DVD but not streaming.  I found it on YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=t__AN6d8FWQ).


Helvetica is a widely used sans-serif typeface developed in 1957 by Swiss typeface designer Max Miedinger with input from Edouard Hoffmann. It is a neo-grotesque or realist design, one influenced by the famous 19th century typeface Akzidenz-Grotesk and other German and Swiss designs. One of the most popular typefaces of the 20th century, its use became a hallmark of the International Typographic Style that emerged from the work of Swiss designers in the 1950s and 60s. Over the years a wide range of variants have been released in different weights, widths and sizes, as well as matching designs for a range of non-Latin alphabets. Notable features of Helvetica include the termination of all strokes on exactly horizontal or vertical lines and unusually tight letter spacing, which give it a dense, compact appearance. (more)