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Helvetica

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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JUST OUR TYPE Gary Hustwit's latest

Good design is something most only think about when our optical nerves are burned by a visual travesty, like, say, the dueling NYC Taxi marketing disasters (they're ugly—I don't care if they're drawn by children). It takes sharper, more patient eyes to reveal to us the intricacies and brilliance of modern typesetting: enter Gary Hustwit and his documentary Helvetica, a film-festival favorite out on DVD November 20.

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Hustwit not only chronicles the birth of the Helvetica typeface 50 years ago, he insightfully, and artfully, examines the role of design and typography in society. He takes the potentially lifeless subject and turns it into visual poetry—owing huge thanks to the film's indie rocker-friendly soundtrack, which sets nifty montages to the likes of Battles, Caribou, and Four Tet.

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