Helvetica for the Holidays

Christmas is about more than just eggnog and carols and sitting by the tree. It’s about having to explain to your family yet again what exactly it is that you do for a living, and suffering through comparisons with your cousin who’s “also into computers.”

If there’s anything that mom and dad truly need this holiday season, it’s to be tied to the andirons and belabored about the head with a copy of Jan Tschichold’s collected essays in the original German (still available in hardcover.) But in the spirit of giving, as well as various local ordinances, get them instead a copy of Gary Hustwit’s Helvetica on DVD, which goes on sale today. It’s smart, engaging, witty, and a great introduction to graphic design for the non-designers who spawned you. It also affords ample opportunity to use the phrase “that’s Hoefler & Frere-Jones: I buy fonts from those guys all the time,” which mom and dad might remember come next year. —JH

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