Friday, November 19, 2010

film night: helvetica

From the film: "It's like being asked how you feel about off-white paint."

I have an immense preference for the serifed font. I love black and white photographs of authors working at their desks. I am fascinated by scientific diagrams, taxonomy, marginalia, cartography.

I also love wood blocks.

From the film: "... all in favor of a certain atmosphere..."

When designing my book cover, my sister told me the sans-serif was easier to read; indeed, the awards announcement at the bottom of the image was originally in Helvetica. I asked her to serif it up, and instead of choosing the font I sent to her, she chose something easier to recognize.

Overheard in the MFA graduate assistant offices: "I'm in the market for a new font. Anyone have a good font to recommend?" We hover at the computers, using drop-down menus to show our preferences: High Tower, Cochin, Goudy.

From the film: "You will do what the typeface wants it to do."

I do see the quiet beauty of Helvetica when used in branding--a simple name, a small phrase. It's crisp, clean, lacking that clutter. Like binder clips.

From the film: "It's air. You have no choice; you have to breathe."

My friend Eireann's handwriting is so pretty, they turned it into a font for her first book.

I once wrote a letter to our exchange student from France entirely in WingDings with a decoder attached. I doubt she took the time.

From the film: "If it tells you do or don't, it's written in Helvetica."