Helvetica, Objectivied and Urbanized – Movies about Design in Our Lives

These three documentaries by independent filmmaker Gary Hustwit go hand-in-hand with each other as each explores the elements of modern design in our lives.

First came the documentary Helvetica, as in Helvetica, the most common and popular type face on the planet. In fact, Helvetica is celebrating over 50 years in existence, which makes it, in typeface years, as old as hieroglyphics or cave paintings.

This film covers typography, graphic design and global visual culture to show just how much type influences our lives. If you don’t think it does, consider this article about how cursive writing may not be taught in schools anymore. But whether you’ve wondered about typefaces, or not, you can view the entire movie for rent or to buy. Rent will cost you $3.99 or buy it for $9.99.

Hustwit is also known for I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, a documentary about the band Wilco, Moog, a documentary about Robert Moog; and Drive Well, Sleep Carefully, a film about Death Cab for Cutie. He worked with SST records in the ’80s, ran the independent book publishing house Incommunicado Press in the ’90s and became vice president of in 2000, amongst many other things. I don’t think he ever sleeps.

He originally premiered Helvetica at SXSW in 2007. It has screened more than 200 times at festivals, on BBC television and on PBS in America.

The two other films that are part of this design series include Objectivied and Urbanized.

Urbanized is “about the design of cities, which looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers.”

Objectivied is “about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them. It’s a look at the creativity at work behind everything from toothbrushes to tech gadgets. It’s about the designers who re-examine, re-evaluate and re-invent our manufactured environment on a daily basis. It’s about personal expression, identity, consumerism, and sustainability.”

There you have it – a triumvirate of exploration into the world of design and how it shapes everything in our lives from our perception of things to our daily use of them.

Watch Helvetica

Watch Objectivied

Watch Urbanized