Veer expands its reach into film as co-producer of Helvetica
Documentary explores impact of popular typeface
New York, New York, March 13, 2007 - Veer, a leading provider of visual elements and design-related products, is a co-producer of Helvetica, a feature-length documentary film about typography, graphic design, and global visual culture directed by Gary Hustwit.
Helvetica is Veer's first venture into film production, as part of the company's ongoing initiative to support the design community. Veer is known for its affinity among creatives. Beyond its core business of creating and distributing high-quality visual elements to a discerning clientele, Veer supports the creative community through event sponsorships, community initiatives, and the Ideas section of the Veer web site. Veer committed to the project believing that the film will build a larger awareness of the world's most prolific typeface and encourage dialogue about Helvetica's impact on the last 50 years of graphic design.
"We're always looking for ways to expand awareness of design and support the creative community. When Gary told us about the film, we just knew we had to be involved," said Jon Parker, Director, Brand Communication for Veer. "We're passionate about type at Veer, but we realize that type's influence is invisible to most people. Helvetica will enlighten people about how type informs us, talks to us, and seduces us. It's a story that's fascinating not only to Veer's audience of designers and creatives, but to anyone interested in media and popular culture."
Helvetica looks at the proliferation of one typeface (which celebrates its 50th birthday this year) as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives, and invites viewers to take a closer look at the thousands of words we see every day. The film profiles some of the greatest graphic and type designers working today and their love/hate relationship with this ubiquitous typeface, found daily on signs, advertisements, and logos. Renowned designers Massimo Vignelli, Matthew Carter, Erik Spiekermann, and many others discuss their work, the creative process, and the choices and aesthetics behind their use of type.
"I admit that the idea of making a feature film about a font might have sounded crazy," said director Gary Hustwit. "But of course the film is about much more than one typeface, and the people at Veer understood the scope and creative goals of Helvetica. It's been fantastic working with Veer. They're staunch supporters of graphic and type designers, but are also committed to groundbreaking involvement in other media."
In addition to its role as co-producer, Veer will host Helvetica screenings in its key markets throughout the year and launch a line of Helvetica-inspired products, available in the online merch store in spring 2007.
Helvetica celebrates its world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, on March 13, 2007, and premieres in Canada April 19 to 29, 2007, at HotDocs in Toronto, the largest documentary film festival in North America. The film will be screened at film festivals, art-house cinemas, museums, art schools, and design conferences worldwide throughout the year, with a DVD release scheduled for fall 2007.
Helvetica is a production of Swiss Dots, in association with Veer. More details about the film can be found at www.veer.com/helveticafilm or helveticafilm.com.
About the Typeface
Helvetica was developed by Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann in 1957 for the Haas Type Foundry in Münchenstein, Switzerland. Hoffmann, Haas's director, commissioned Miedinger to draw an updated sans-serif typeface. The result was called Neue Haas Grotesk. In 1961, when Haas's German parent companies, Stempel and Linotype, began marketing the font internationally, its name was changed to Helvetica, derived from Helvetia, the Latin name for Switzerland. Introduced amidst a wave of popularity of Swiss design, and fueled by advertising agencies selling this new design style to their clients, Helvetica quickly appeared in corporate logos, signage for transportation systems, fine art prints, and myriad other uses worldwide. Inclusion of the font in home computer systems such as the Apple Macintosh in 1984 further cemented its ubiquity.
About Gary Hustwit
Gary Hustwit has produced five feature documentaries, including I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, the award-winning film about the band Wilco; Moog, the documentary about electronic music pioneer Robert Moog; and Drive Well, Sleep Carefully, a tour film about the band Death Cab for Cutie. Helvetica is Hustwit's directorial debut. Hustwit worked with punk record label SST in the late 1980s, ran the independent book publishing house Incommunicado Press during the 1990s, was vice president of the media web site Salon.com in 2000, and founded the independent DVD label Plexifilm in 2001.
About Swiss Dots
Swiss Dots is an independent film production company and design brand based in London.
Veer makes it easier to be creative with an affordable selection of creative stock photography, stock illustrations, fonts and creative merchandise. Veer provides an uncomplicated shopping experience that lets customers stay focused on their creative work. Its visual elements help people add style to business, marketing and personal design projects from websites and blog posts to business presentations and ad campaigns. Veer hosts the Veer Ideas community where creatives can set up personal profiles, read the latest design news on the Skinny blog and post on the community blog, the Fat. Veer is a Corbis Corporation brand and serves its global customer base through its website at veer.com.
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