In 1957, one of the most powerful figures of our time was born in a small Swiss town. Though the majority wouldn’t even recognise his name, his countless distinct silhouettes are among the biggest players in the marketing and information spheres. He’s worked with everyone in the music industry from The Beatles to Swedish House Mafia. He’s the only one whose talents are diverse enough to justify appearing in advertisements for everyone from American Airlines to American Apparel and 3M to Verizon without being dismissed as a corporate shill. Every day, hundreds of millions of iPhone users are greeted with his face as they go about their days. And yet, he still frequently appears in public without anyone batting an eyelid.
For he is Helvetica. He is the typeface of both the 20th and 21st centuries. He is the symbol of modernism, of efficiency, of approachability and of sophistication. You saw him on the way to work this morning. He’s behind you on the fire exit sign. In some places, he’s even on your government documents and public transportation signage. The omnipresent typographical embodiment of Swiss neutrality brought brands into the age of machinery in the 1960s and beyond, forever changing the way we think about marketing and advertising.
It’s been a busy week in consumer technology and the world in general but also for our podcast squadron, who didn’t really have a chance to meet up and talk tech. Chris and Xavier found half an hour on Sunday night, though, so here is a show where we sound totally unprepared and blast through the headlines like there’s no tomorrow. WARNING: The creepy voice of Chris lives on, dear listener.
Earlier this week, I published my extensive review of Nokia’s Lumia 720. If you haven’t read and watched it already, I’d sincerely recommend that you check it out, but today I’m bringing a new option of consuming our written word to the table. Alex, the lovely robot found within iTunes on Mac OS X, has made an audio version of my post which sounds remarkably good for one of these text-to-speech things. The concept of audio reviews is something I’ve been considering for a while now, so if you think it’s worth us continuing (even if we have to replace Alex with a human or alternative robot voice) give us a shout in the comments or on Twitter.
Remember the last time our trio of podcasters were all on the same show together? Neither do we, but today it happened. Like the reunionisation of the Wu-Tang Clan, Xavier, Henry and Chris join together to discuss copyright trolls, why Motorola should manufacture in Essex and keep the interns off Twitter, LG doing everything they can to be Samsung, synthetic burgers, Hyperloops, Samsung doing everything they can to be Samsung, Phoenix & R. Kelly, Ron Swanson’s stack of cows, Sony being Sony and more!
For the one true episode 014 of our now adolescent podcast, Xavier and Chris make up for lost time by talking about everything important since the Lumia 1020 happened. It turns out that this includes a fair bit about the 1020 itself, but our dynamic duo (sorry Henry) also trawl through news about its baby big brother, a new family of Droids from Motorola and Verizon with the Moto X launch looming later this week and HTC’s quest for profitability with One variants both big and small. Samsung, on the other hand, go full-on with the purple and Canonical decide that a crowdfunding campaign to make an Ubuntu phone with a sapphire crystal display makes perfect sense. There’s also a new BlackBerry leak if you’re into that kind of phone and Google’s new Nexus 7 and Chromecast streaming HDMI dongle thing.
Twelve. That’s a mighty large number, and it’s also the number of topics in the show notes for our return from yet another unintentional hiatus. While Henry lies in a field getting fried by the British heatwave, Xavier and Chris take cover in the depths of the night to talk about Apple’s mobile product lines and web ambitions, imminent announcements from Nokia and Motorola, new devices from Sony and HTC that are scaring Xavier’s wallet and leaked information about upcoming phablets from the Korean pairing of LG and Samsung. Chris goes on to wax lyrical about rap music while Xavier enthuses about The Last of Us while finding it horribly difficult (yet completely possible) to avoid spoilers. We also answer some user questions from Twitter, thanks to our wonderful listeners and #AskChris, which we’ve chosen to hijack.