Described as the Kate Moss of fonts – ultra-thin, misunderstood and plastered all over the tabloids – the typeface Helvetica is to have its story told on BBC1 tonight.
In a shorter version of the feature-length film by Gary Hustwit, the programme tells the story of how the typeface, which celebrates its 50th birthday this year, became one of the most radical new designs of its time.
As part of BBC’s Imagine arts series, presented by Alan Yentob, the film will include interviews with graphic design figures such as Neville Brody, Rick Poyner and Massimo Vignelli.
Developed by Max Miedinger, with Eduard Hoffmann, in 1957 for the Haas Type Foundry in Munchenstein, Switzerland, Helvetica started to appear as part of corporate logos for governments, global corporations, bureaucracy and capitalism, as well as signage systems and fine art prints. It is now used by millions of people every day on public transport, newspapers, shop fronts and computers.
The film will be shown at 10.35pm on BBC1.