Firstly, “Helvetica” was incredible: the detail put into the opening scene, the soundtrack, the cinematography… Overall, it was a fantastically made documentary. One of my favorite aspects of the film is how objective it was. Hustwit featured a variety of designers whose tastes differed greatly from each other. Massimo Vignelli stressed the importance of simplicity and geometry within his work. And then interjects a character like David Carson, who disregarded all rule and form and experimented with his designs. Both are very successful designers, but with such different approaches to their work. It’s inspiring to see that the design world is more fluid than I originally thought; innovation is always necessary. “Helvetica” was the catalyst to my (not so) newfound interest in graphic design.
Lupton’s Thinking With Type is also insanely good. The portion of the first chapter “Mixing Typefaces”, although very short, awakened me to subtleties in typographic design that I never consciously considered: “strive for contrast rather than harmony, looking for emphatic differences rather than mushy transitions,” (Lupton 54). This statement is crucial, and it’s already embedded itself into the things I create.
Reading the second chapter “Text”, I couldn’t put the textbook down. Every textual element was interesting. On pages 106-107 are examples of experiments with kerning and letting. It’s mind-boggling looking at each sample and knowing that space can direct a viewer’s understanding (i.e. Gestalt principles, definitely). The aesthetic of text changes the game completely. Text is no longer those little squiggly thingies that one reads, but it becomes art.