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Films About Letters, Objects and Cities

Those who know me, know that I love typographic design. I love the shape of letters. The beauty of counter space. The delight of clever kerning. This weekend I revisited one of my favorite documentaries, Helevetica.

The Design of Letters.

When it was released in 2007, I saw it twice — when it debuted at Silverdocs and at screening at the Corcoran Gallery. Both times it was introduced by its director Gary Hustwit, who brilliantly captures the great design minds of Massimo Vignelli, Stefan Sagmeister and Michael Bierut, among others, discussing their love and contempt for the modern typeface.

Helvetica is just not about typeface, it tells the story of design in the modern and post-modern era and everything that inspired it. Each time I watch it, it inspires me to create meaningful experiences and forces me to see beyond the ordinary shape of things.

The Design of Things.

In 2009, Hustwit released Objectified, a film about the design of everyday things. Personally, I look for utility as well as simple, clean lines in things I buy. From laptops to bar stools to vacuums, I am attracted to Scandinavian design and mid-century modern architecture.  Objectified shows us what we use in our daily lives influences the way we live. As creatives, it’s our responsibility to design functionally beautiful and sustainable objects.

The Design of Cities.

This year, Hustwit is set to release his newest documentary, Urbanized. Focused on the design of cities, Urbanized looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design and how it has been influenced by architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers.

These films continue to inspire me and energize me to push the borders of design. Whether it’s in my own home or office, or in the way it fits into a client’s brand, the way I look at the counter space evolves. I encourage you to watch these films. Even if you’ve never been one to look at the way an object is designed, your view of world will change after you’ve seen these films. For good or for bad, the way we live is influenced by the design of our words, things we buy and the cities in which we live. The more we understand about it, the better and more informed decisions we can make.

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