Postin dis from work. Lunch break, technically, so if the boss is reading this, please don’t fire me.
Becki and I went up to New York City this past weekend, mostly because it was our two-year-iversary but also because we’ve never actually gone on a vacation together. There’s more to post, which I’ll be doing later, but just a quick note for now, so I can get back to work on time.
It just so happened that the IFC Film Center was hosting a showing of Helvetica, a documentary about the font, that weekend. I’ve been forgetting to buy tickets to this since before it was released, so I jumped at the chance. It was a pretty interesting film, and the two main things I took away from it were a) people use Helvetica an awful lot in signage and branding, and b) design folks and typographers get really worked up about that, often in hilarious ways. Seriously, it’s far more interesting than you might think. I’ll probably pick up the DVD when that’s out, I think in November.
There was supposed to be a Q&A with the director, Gary Hustwit, after the movie, but apparently he had to run off to Moscow for the Russian premiere, so the Q&A was replaced with a brief monologue and asking trivia questions in exchange for prizes.
The first question was what the original name of Helvetica was. I had some idea, so I raise my hand and answer “something-something grotesk”. Not good enough, apparently. Someone else, who was probably a graphic artist, and thus paid to care about such things, nailed it, with Neue-Haas Grotesk.
What’s funny about this, at least to me, is that the second and final question Hustwit asked was “I baked something this morning. What was it?”. This, to me, was the perfect set up for a pretty weak burn. Namely, to use the same answer from before - “something-something grotesque” - to describe his baking.
Unsurprisingly, he looked right at my smirking face, and proceeded to call on just about everyone else in the room, until someone got it. Probably better that way, but it seemed like a pretty good burn at the time. If it matters, if the Q&A had happened, I was planning to ask him if he’d considered a sequel to Helvetica, about another incredible font that everyone loves. Namely, Comic Sans MS. Again, probably better that that didn’t happen.
More on New York later.