Category Archives: Type

Helvetica Movie – Watch for Free

Until Tuesday, March 24th, 2020, you can watch Gary Hustwit’s documentary Helvetica for free. Helvetica is a feature-length (about 1 hour and 20 minutes) documentary about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It features the world’s most prolific typeface and explains why that is and how it got to be that way.

The director posted this on Twitter last week:

In light of the COVID-19 crisis, I’m streaming my films for free to viewers stuck indoors anywhere in the world. I’ll be streaming a new movie every week, launching each Tuesday. Stay strong, we’ll get through this.

via @gary_hustwit

I haven’t seen it since 2008, but parts of it stick in your mine. I have to admit that some of my favorite parts of the film are with the folks that are simply OVER Helvetica and complain about how simple and boring it is. I am not saying I agree, but it’s always fun to listen to intelligent folks who are passionate about something. That seems even more so when that thing they are passionate about is typography.

helvetica movie

It looks like Hustwit will be sharing more of his films as well. He has another one that was enjoyable called Objectified. It’s worth checking out if you enjoy listening to folks talk about high-design, products and ideas.

Here’s the trailer for Objectified:

helvetica and objectified

Enjoy the films!

Two 2014 Typography Calendars

The new year is upon us! Which means it is time to pick out another calendar to help guide me through another year. For 2014, I’m thinking about getting one of these typography calendars. I haven’t decided if I want to go with a tear-off day-to-day type deal or if I want the wall mounted inspirational calendar. Either way, I’ve found these two options.


This typography calendar is being sold at MOMA and sports a different font every day of the year. They are calling it the Typodarium calendar and it looks like it may get a tad cutesy, but it’s certainly unique. Plus, it’s on sale for only $12.50 (see waiting until the last minute pays off sometimes)!


Of course, then there is the annual awesomeness that is Hinrichs 2014 Typography 365 Calendar. This favorite sports a new font every month and really concentrates on the design and typesetting of each month. It’s something that any typophile would truly appreciate. But the full-size wall calendar is going for $47, so it’s a bit more expensive. I’ve seen this one before and it was wonderful. Totally worth getting the bigger one (the smaller typographiy calendar is $29).

So what have I missed? I’ve seen a bunch on Etsy, but nothing really jumped out. Let me know if you know of a cool typography calendar that I need to consider before I pull the trigger on one of these.

Happy New Year to each of you! I hope that your 2014 is full of books and great reads.

Art: A City Made from Lead Type

typecity one

The folks over at Type Token featured the work of Hong Seon Jang the other day. The artist has a show in Denver right now where patrons can check out his cityscapes composed of lead type. This is truly amazing and a great way to show off type pieces. Most of the typography-related art that I run across consists of the printed letterforms, but this takes the mechanical type and pushes into the architectural realm.

typecity two

A Typesetter Made World’s First Audio Recording

In 1860, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville was a typesetter (and possibly a bookseller) in Paris. He also liked to tinker, which lead him down the path of making the world’s first audio recording, using his printing tools and knowledge.

autophonograph or autophonogramPrinting and imprinting is something Scott understood very well. Capturing the song in 10 second visually-printed snippets must not have been too difficult, once he figured it out. The problem was he didn’t know how to play back what he’d recorded!

He printed all of the “grooves”, using his phonautograph on rag paper,  but no phonautograph-reader has been found.

So modern-day scientists had to cook up a way to sight-read the recordings, to what I think are pretty nifty (and spooky) sounding results.

This scenario doesn’t sound too different from today as people in the music, movie, book, web and mobile fields are crossing lines, mashing up tools and pushing boundaries to make new books and products. I just think it’s neat that the first audio recording ever made was actually printed on paper.