Answering the following questions about Helvetica

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  1. “Helvetica is the official font of capitalism?”Explain why you agree or disagree with that statement by Paula Scher.
  2. Consider the following quotes from the movie Helvetica. Explain why you agree or disagree with at least two of them.

    Rick Poynor: “Type is saying things to us all the time. Typefaces express a mood, an atmosphere. They give words a certain coloring.”

    Massimo Vignelli: “You can say, “I love you,” in Helvetica. And you can say it with Helvetica Extra Light if you want to be really fancy. Or you can say it with the Extra Bold if it’s really intensive and passionate, you know, and it might work.”

    Michael Bierut: “
    Everywhere you look you see typefaces. But there’s one you probably see more than any other one, and that’s Helvetica. You know, there it is, and it seems to come from nowhere. You know, it seems like air? It seems like gravity?”

    Jonathan Hoefler:“And it’s hard to evaluate it. It’s like being asked what you think about off-white paint. It’s just… it’s just there. And it’s hard to get your head around, it’s that big.”

    Erik Spiekermann: “Most people who use Helvetica, use it because it’s ubiquitous. It’s like going to McDonald’s instead of thinking about food. Because it’s there, it’s on every street corner, so let’s eat crap because it’s on the corner.”

    David Carson: “Don’t confuse legibility with communication. Just because something is legible doesn’t mean it communicates and, more importantly, doesn’t mean it communicates the right thing.”

    Tobias Frere-Jones: “The sort of classical modernist line on how aware a reader should be of a typeface is that they shouldn’t be aware of it at all. It should be this crystal goblet there to just hold and display and organize the information.”

  3. How important is legibility in a typeface? Should a typeface communicate meaning, or should a typeface simply communicate the word?
  4. Is Helvetica overused, overrated, or both?What makes you consider a typeface overused or overrated?

  5. Each typeface has an expressive personality, communicated by the form of the letters. As designers, we must consider the personality of a typeface we choose when communicating with an audience. In your own words, looking at the letter forms of Helvetica,describe the personality of “Helvetica.”
  6. If Helvetica is considered the ultimate font expression of post-modernism and the post WWII world, what is the ultimate font expression of today?Is it still Helvetica, or is it a different typeface?

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