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

Eight Screenings; Five Degrees

The New York premiere of Helvetica sold out so quickly that Tobias and I almost didn’t get seats, and we’re in the film. So get your tickets now for the NYC cinema run, which starts Wednesday at the IFC Center in Greenwich Village. Director Gary Hustwit will be on hand for a few of the screenings, as will Tobias Frere-Jones and Michael Bierut — check the film’s calendar for the full scoop.

BREAKING — It’s through Helvetica that we’re connected to David Carson, through Addicted to Love that he’s connected to Matthew Broderick, through War Games that Matthew’s connected to Maury Chaykin, and through Where the Truth Lies that Maury’s connected to Kevin Bacon, bringing the H&FJ Bacon Number to a sizzling four. —JH

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