Wednesday, June 20, 2012

the swiss grid flies under your radar

This is a 3 sided box/cover for filmstrips. It held 8 small cylindrical containers about the size of my wife's yogurt cups. This classic example of Swiss grid design was found in our school's trash pile (Powerpoint has rendered slide projection just a bit dated). Designing with a mathematical grid and left-justified paragraphs has a special place in my minds idea of what is good in graphic design. I kept this beautiful red box in the window of my art room for one year. No one mentioned it being there. No one asked about it. Nothing. It collected dust. I, on the other hand, looked at it every time I entered my room and quite often while working on my computer. I found it to be peaceful and inspiring (weird...I know).
The font Helvetica (lettering on box) was the favorite of the Swiss and has not lost its popularity with present day graphic designers. From logos to directional signs utilized by city governments, Helvetica delivers easy readability and a feeling of emotionless precision. Its function is its form. It has no other purpose than its look. Helvetica has also become the subject of many jokes about designers and fonts (it could just be that there aren't many jokes on this subject to begin with). It is used to the point of exhaustion and cliche'.

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