Get local news delivered straight to your phone

Support City Paper!

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

More authentic than Arial, more down-to-business than Comic Sans, and much more useful than Wingdings is Helvetica, the sans-serif typeface created in 1957 by Swiss graphic designer Max Miedinger. Today, Helvetica can be found almost everywhere, from iPhones to Energizer batteries to American Apparel advertisements. Released in celebration of the typeface’s 50th anniversary is director Gary Hustwit’s documentary, Helvetica, which—through interviews with such famed graphic designers and typographers as Wim Crouwel, Neville Brody, and Erik Spiekermann—examines the “proliferation of one typeface…as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives.” Hustwit, who’s previously produced documentaries such as I Am Trying to Break Your Heart (about the band Wilco) and Moog (about electronic music pioneer and Moog synthesizer inventor Robert Moog), asks, “What are the repercussions of [Helvetica’s] popularity” and “has it resulted in the globalization of our visual culture?” With Helvetica, Hustwit attempts to answer those questions, as well as a handful of others you probably never thought to ask. The film shows at 9:30 p.m. at the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s Hammer Auditorium, 500 17th St. NW. $12. (202) 639-1700.