Ellen Lupton & Helvetica

Page 1 and I can’t focus; I’ve lost control of my eyes to rapid page wandering. I’ve never found it so difficult to sit down and read the material in a book like Ellen Lupton’s. However, this was a good thing. It was hard to physically read about the typefaces, type families, scale, and the anatomy because everything was in action! Everything in the text was literally jumping across the pages and staring at me. I wanted to know what creation rested on the following page.

Before I started to physically read the first chapter of “Thinking with Type,” I flipped through every page because I was so enamored with the endless amounts of designed material. The same thing happened to me while watching “Helvetica.” My eyes locked on the shots where examples of Helvetica and other typefaces stretched across the screen. The power that typefaces possess is a fascinating reality. Especially Helvetica, I was curious to see its use across the globe. I never recognized Helvetica’s prominence before watching “Helvetica”, but then it struck me that designers live, breath, and eat Helvetica. The typeface completely makes sense; it is ideal in most every situation and can mold to its surroundings. After reading the first chapter of Ellen Lupton’s book and watching “Helvetica” I now absorb my surroundings in a different manner. I have always loved typefaces, color even more, and instead of simply noticing I am now absorbing their meaning.

Casually taking a stroll down Marshall St. I now look at each sign and register the typefaces. When I sit down at a restaurant I examine the typeface and fonts in the menu…when I should probably be focusing on the food. The rapid eye wandering disease hits me constantly. I feel more in touch with each individual letter I read. “Helvetica” opened my eyes to its abundance and success. Now, when I go shopping I’ll glance to anything written in Helvetica and  be excited of its presence. I may purposely walk into American Apparel just to see Helvetica, perhaps the clothing too.

Furthermore, I loved the humor that the designers conveyed in the movie. I laughed when the designer pointed to different words and was blunt about the words insignificance in relation to its typeface. I never thought about the profession of creating a typeface, designers are talented beyond belief. They are brilliant. They are the ones controlling every word, design, and image that human’s encompass. It’s captivating to the mind to look at a word and feel its meaning from its appearance. “Thinking with Type” and “Helvetica” taught me that the world revolves around type and we are exposed to its beauty 365 days a year.


One Comment

  1. I have the same feeling while reading Ellen Lupton’s book. Different typefaces drag me to different places, and I even cannot focus on its content. However, it is the power of typeface! It can affect us both physically and mentally. I really like the last sentence of your last paragraph, and yes, we live with types and enjoy its beauty everyday =)

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