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The typeface Helvetica was developed in 1957 in Switzerland. 50 years later, Gary Hustwit made a documentary that interviews typographers. Their feelings for Helvetica range from amorous to dismissive. We watched the documentary in class, and then redesigned its DVD packaging – twice. The pieces on the left are modeled after pure Swiss design: clean lines, negative space, alignment to grid. The right-hand pieces represent “Swiss with a Twist.”

I had seen this documentary once before, but its rewatching became for me a startlingly spiritual experience. As I saw letterforms in the limelight and listened to the overflow of the most typographic souls alive today, my thirst to actually design type was intensified.

It is something of a mystery to me how and why Jesus would create such a seemingly inconsequential arena as well as people to engage and redeem it — but there’s no question in my mind that He did. My suspicion, then, is that typography is not inconsequential, that in fact there are depths to be explored in this discipline that will lead to revelation of the character of God. If that’s true, sign me up!!

You’ll want to check out the PDFs for close-ups and to read my ‘critical review’ of the documentary.

Pure Swiss PDF Swiss with a Twist PDF

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