So it was a little touch and go for a while on Friday. I got a call around 4/4.30 from Chris to say Gary had had trouble getting out of Dublin and was running late (images of riotous designers appeared in our minds). But, of course, we needn't have worried; he got here and was ready to go pretty much on time.
Now you must understand, I'm not a Helvetica purist, I'm not a hardcore modernist or anything like that. In fact, other than rising to the implied Lars Müller challenge or being prescribed its use by corporate guidelines, I'd be unlikely to choose the font really, taking the Spiekermann position that there's plenty of more interesting typefaces to use. But for what it's worth, I thought the Helvetica film was a very beautiful piece of work.
Whether you're a lover or a hater it's a film about graphic design and as someone who lives and breaths graphic design, that's just about as perfect a film as I could imagine.
Packed full of typographic details and history (including visits to the Linotype archives and the former Haas Type Foundry), opinions from notable and iconic designers, and of course, Helvetica used and abused; it was nicely paced and sensitively produced, with a great soundtrack. I'm no film pundit, so I won't say much more, other than if you don't get to see it on a big screen get the DVD when it's released in October.
Best bits? Michael Beirut's Coke Ad comparison got the loudest laugh. Wim Crouwel, Experimental Jetset and Massimo Vignelli championed Helvetica brilliantly; the latter snearing at "the disease that was called Post-Modernism". While Spiekermann slammed it's ubiquity, despairing that "...you have to breath so you have to use Helvetica?" and Paula Scher blamed it for both the Vietnam and Iraq wars.
Worst bits? Well, it had to end sometime. Actually, I wouldn't have missed David Carson's contribution if I'm being very honest.
On a personal level I thought it was an ace night and can't wait for the DVD. Gary was a top bloke so even though I imagine he's far too busy to read this: BIG THANKS for coming to Belfast Gary. Special thanks for the badges!
And if you were there, thanks for coming!