“Helvetica” on Flickr

We watched [Helvetica][] today in the documentary seminar, and though the 80-minute film overflowed are 75-minute class, everyone had interesting comments to make:

1. For one, how reliant type designers and graphic designers are on metaphors and metaphorical language to describe either type faces themselves or their use in various applications.
2. How even a topic as seemingly “off the wall” as a type face could be handled readily by following established documentary film guidelines. That is, the film is fairly conventional in form: it alternates talking head interviews, sometimes *in situ* but sometimes in a kind of abstract visual space, with images of Helvetica out in the world. This is about as traditional as you can get. (Is there a kind of reverse relationship here: do more traditional documentary subjects allow for more non-traditional forms? Would pursuing non-traditional form and content simply push things too far for viewers? What would be an example of such a latter case?)
3. What made the documentary so compelling was the passion, and articulateness, with which the designers spoke. Their language, their vision, brought us into their world and then back into our own.

After the film was over, we were all drawn to comment on how we now wanted to “go see for ourselves” instances of Helvetica in our own lives. I suggested that we do it by posting things to Flickr and perhaps tagging those images with “helvetica.” Guess what? As of today on Flickr, there are 8855 images [tagged with “helvetica”](http://flickr.com/search/?w=all&q=helvetica&m=tags). And so I am going to suggest that we create a group on Flickr and this is just one of a number of things we will post there before the semester is done.

[Helvetica]: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000VWEFP8?ie=UTF8&tag=johnlaudun-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000VWEFP8