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Posts Tagged ‘Gary Hustwit’

Bierut On Modern Typesetting For Designers: Like Having “As Much Sex As They Wanted”

No! No, no, no, no! What are you crazy? Of course you cannot read Virginia Postrel‘s article about type in this month’s Atlantic online! Are you out of your mind?

But what you can do is watch a video of Michael Bierut (looking adorable, especially during that opening stroll) talkin’ type to accompany this mysterious piece about “a revolution in typeface design.” And we swear to god, Bierut makes a comparison between photo typesetting and birth control that we’re pretty sure is unprintable here. It’s no “It’s The Real Thing. Period. Coke. Period. Any Questions? Of Course Not.” But it’ll do.

The article opens (we say it opens but that’s so ironic since the opening is really all we have to work with here) by describing the artistry of Bierut’s type-only Seventy-Nine Short Essays on Design (designed by Abbott Miller):

Yet the book is a graphic extravaganza. Each of the 79 essays is set in a different typeface, ranging in age from Bembo, designed in 1495, to Flama, created in 2006. This profusion of typefaces would have been inconceivable when Bierut, 50, was starting out as a graphic designer. ‘I’m not sure in 1982 I could have come up with 79 different text fonts,’ he says.”

You can also read this interview with Gary Hustwit, which Postrel conducted by phone, so she probably didn’t get to see Hustwit throw up in his mouth a little after being asked for the 1,456th time the only question that any interviewer has ever opened with: “Why make a film about a typeface?”

Now. Luckily for you, friends, we are trained in the ways of magic, allowing us to conjure up this top secret no-registration-required link to the story in full. However, like all magic, there’s a catch. That link will expire in three days. Use your powers wisely.

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UnBeige Looks Back: The Year In Design Videos

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No, we’re not talking about Gary Hustwit‘s masterpiece, we’re talking about every single YouTube video that tried to take design somewhere it simply did not want to go.

Can someone tell the makers of Comic Sans that last year was the year of typeface parodies? Or maybe let Electrolux know that they can’t rap? We do not, we repeat, do not, want to make our logos bigger (available in hard rock or cream form). And we hope, for their sakes, that both the Graphic Design Avenger and the Original Design Gangsta have been placed in witness protection programs.

We’d show you our favorite design videos of the year, but all the Bill Cahan mashups we posted have since been taken down.

UnBeige is counting down our biggest stories of 2007, all day, right here.

Just When He Tries To Get Out, Design Draws Gary Hustwit Back In

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No, Gary Hustwit is not planning Arial, Geneva or any other Vanna White-approved films as a sequel to the movie that Entertainment Weekly gave an A-. After yet another screening in Denver (and an appearance in Toronto last night) he’s off to the Connecting conference in San Francisco to begin his next film. Yes, Hustwit’s doing another documentary, this time about industrial design.

He couldn’t tell us more than that. However, when we ran into him at breakfast moments after the AIGA NEXT conference officially ended, he was dining with two lovely ladies from Apple. Hmmm…The iPhone: The Movie?

Dirty Dancing Observer Party

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Sometimes at these conference things it’s nice to escape the pristine white hallways for a hot, filthy little basement packed thick with grinding graphic designers. Where legends of print, stage, screen, the airwaves, and a movie about graphic design take the stage for guest DJ sets. Where you not only don’t know which body part is being violated by which person’s gyrating sweaty loins, you don’t care because Kevin Smith is playing Prince and you just gotta dance, dammit. Oh yes, this was the Design Observer party.

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Head DJ Smith with Debbie Millman, throwing out a little J-Lo.

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Laurie Rosenwald was anything but “tired”; Gary Hustwit, who spun his own real records, prepares to take the stage.

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Host Michael Bierut looking dapper, Bill Drenttel (we can call you Bill, right?) becomes possessed by the demons of the dance floor.

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Randy Hunt gets jiggy; Marian Bantjes‘ hot bow-topped boots.

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Dancemaster David Womack takes a break to compare tans with Nik Hafermaas; Eric Heiman can’t control himself.

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Comic Sans, the Drunk Bastard Left-for-Dead Child of Helvetica. No, Really.

And a final entry for the Official Stupid Design-Focused Video Month Film Festival makes it in just under the wire. Genre Creative, shame on you. You made Gary Hustwit cry.

Thanks to John McCollum.

Helvetica Takes the Cake In LA

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We had second helpings of Helvetica this weekend as the documentary made its West Coast premiere. Gary Hustwit had attended sold out screenings in Laguna Beach the night before and although he claimed exhaustion from a month of jetsetting, Hustwit was bright-eyed and charming as ever.

The only bummer about the screening was the screen itself: the film was shown in a tiny 200 person auditorium housed the Gerontology Department of USC with horrendously uncomfortable seats and a sound system that consisted of two tinny speakers. We felt bad that this most film-savvy crowd didn’t get to experience the sweet HD camera work and fabulous score. At all.

Afterwards, though, the courtyard outside throbbed with enthusiasm and anticipation as people lining up for the 9:30 screening asked the 7:00 kids what they thought. And, in what seems to now be a tradition for these screenings, a Helveticake was served, with USC volunteers shaving off thick sans serif slices.

Gary Hustwit and That Ubiquitous Typeface On “DnA” Today

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We can’t get enough of Gary Hustwit (and neither should you, no matter what some might say), and we’re delighted that Mr. Helvetica will be appearing on our favorite west coast radio program, “DnA: Design and Architecture” with Frances Anderton today. 2:30pm PST, or listen here.

Complete This Helvetica Statement

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From here, it certainly seems like Helvetica is going to change the world. We loved it. Alice Rawsthorn, CNN and the Boston Herald can’t be wrong. Most screenings so far have sold out. Tonight’s NY screening has been sold out for weeks. The LA screening sold out in one day. And everyone wants to put their personal spin on how important this movie is going to be:

Us, in January: “What if, like The Al Gore Show did for green, Helvetica does for design?”

Steven Heller, quoting Paola Antonelli: “Maybe Helvetica will be the next My Architect.

Michael Bierut today on Design Observer: “Hey, this might do for typography what Wordplay did for crossword puzzles.”

But in that same piece, thanks to Michael Bierut’s (non-designer) friend, we finally have some perspective: “Maybe it’ll do for typography,” he said, “what Capturing the Friedmans did for pedophilia.”

Hangin’ With the Helvetica Crew

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Gary Hustwit is not only a hero to graphic designers everywhere, he happens to be one of the nicest, most genuine guys we’ve ever met. His nerves were somewhat soothed after the premiere of Helvetica, where they had to turn 150 people away–150 people!–and he was finally enjoying a well-deserved beer. Listen, we’d be thrilled about this movie no matter what–just the existence of a feature-length film about design is reason for us to cheer–but we’re telling you, this is a great movie. The design community should be sending Gary Hustwit love letters for a very long time. You can write them in any typeface you want, too, because he’s definitely ready to start looking at something else. Maybe a nice serif.

Hustwit has had more than 100 requests to screen Helvetica around the world and at most of those screenings a designer from the film will join him. In Austin, that designer was David Carson, and to answer your next question, yes. We met David Carson. We weren’t so sure about him at first, you know, his bad boy reputation and all. That and the fact that he’s actually kind of like the villain in Helvetica. And although most of his sentences do start “Well, I’ve never really gotten along with ______, but…” or “Me and _______ don’t really see eye-to-eye, so…”, we found him to be pretty open and delightful company on two separate occasions. He’s got a great sense of humor. And to answer your second question, yes. He is even more tan in real life.

Helvetica World Premiere

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We just barely snagged a seat in an extremely tightly-kerned crowd at the world premiere of Helvetica here at SXSW, where the entire audience sported buttons reading “I love/hate Helvetica.” Okay, okay, everybody has been making their little jokes about “the movie about a font.” But guess what–this is not really a movie about a typeface. Helvetica is just a character in this wonderfully-made film, which just might be the best history of graphic design we’ve ever seen.

Director Gary Hustwit‘s film will lead even the most design clueless through an intelligent global survey of design. But designers won’t be bored. It’s not a simplified primer; instead, it’s the soul of graphic design–straight from the source. Massimo Vignelli preaching that there are only really, three typefaces (we thought it was five; he must be getting pickier). Sagmeister saying clean type is boring. Paula Scher explaining illustrative type. Rick Poynor explaining Modernism. David Carson epitomizing grunge type. Experimental Jetset bringing it all back around.

The story of graphic design is meant for the big screen. With the exception of a few conferences and maybe the work of someone like Hillman Curtis, we just don’t get to see ourselves like this. And damn do we look good.

Especially Erik Spiekermann, and an adorable Michael Bierut, who are the real stars of this film. Bierut delivers the best monologue in the whole movie–an awesome treatise on corporate design that got the biggest laughs and a hearty round of applause.

True to subject, the film itself is simple and beautiful. There are some lovely animations of Swiss designs and cool shots of how type gets made. And there’s an exuberant quality about the whole thing–a lingering shot on a corner of a poster, the spare but expressive music, and the stunning, overwhelming ubiquitousness of this typeface that means nothing and everything, all at the same time. The film festival guy who introduced the film said this, and got a laugh from the audience, but by the end of the film it was apparent: Designer or not, you will never, ever see the world the same again.

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