Monday, April 20, 2009

FONT D'ESPRIT ] Meet the letterheads

helvetica posters

I woke up to this news on the Yahoo! homepage: "Petition to ban most hated font." Or something to that effect. The font in question is Comic Sans which, while I have no emotional attachments to fonts, once made me want to bang my head on the wall when one of my staff, possibly fifteen years older than me in the writing profession, submitted her article using said font. This morning's article is, like the Comic Sans, is a little silly, but a fun read. First, because they used the more pleasing Arial to tell the story. Second, I like this joke: "Comic Sans walks into a bar, bartender says, 'We don't serve your type.'" Like I said, I have no emotional attachment to font types unlike, I guess, Neil, who has been itching to replace the Swank masthead since Day 1 (he finally did) because it looked a little too close to a local men's title. His dream job is to sit somewhere the whole day and design typography, like the old geezers that make up the cast of Helvetica which we saw several months back, and which will be shown tonight, April 21, 8pm at Mogwai Cinematheque in Cubao Expo.

The documentary was released in 2007 in time for the font's 50th anniversary. It's a hip, lovely, inspiring film filled with men obsessed with little things and the spaces that hold, no, embrace these little things. "Helvetica has almost like a perfect balance of push and pull in its letters," Leslie Savan says in the film. "And that perfect balance sort of is saying to us--well it's not sort of, it is saying to us: 'Don't worry, any of the problems that you're having, or the problems in the world, or problems getting through the subway, or finding a bathroom... all those problems aren't going to spill over. They'll be contained. And in fact, maybe they don't exist." And still, the absolutely adorable Massimo Vignelli has a suggestion: "You can say, 'I love you,' in Helvetica. And you can say it with Helvetica Extra Light if you want to be really fancy. Or you can say it with the Extra Bold if it's really intensive and passionate, you know, and it might work." Because imagine saying it with Comic Sans.

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