Stranger Things is a new hit Netflix show about supernatural goings-on in the mid-1980s. Part of its magic is the excellent production design: it doesn't just nail the 80s, but it nails the poor midwestern 80s rather than the usual Hollywood middle-class city/coastal/bible-belt 80s. It still feels a bit like the late 70s—not because of 19A0s consumer witchcraft stuff, but because it's the middle of Indiana and most everything's at least 5 years old. Even the typography is perfect, from the very first second.
The Stranger Things title sequence is pure, unadulterated typographic porn. With television shows opting for more elaborate title sequences (think GOT and True Detective), the opening of Stranger Things is refreshingly simple. It trims the fat and shows only what is necessary to set the mood. More importantly, it proves a lesson I’ve learned time and time again as a designer: you can do a lot with type. But how do a few pans of a logo accomplish so much in such a short amount of time? I break down its typographic success to three powerful plays: recognition, scale and palette.
If you love Ridley Scott's sci-fi masterpiece, Blade Runner, the minutia of film, and nerding out over typography, prepare to have your neck bolts blown. Dave Addey runs Typeset in the Future, a website dedicated to the typographic elements found in sci-fi films. He has previously examined the titling, signage, logotypes, text messaging, and visual displays found in 2001: A Space Odyssey, Moon, and Alien. Here, he turns his typographical attentions to Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, Blade Runner.
In 5,000 words and hundreds of screen caps, Dave goes through every scrap of textual content seen in the film. What's equally amazing to the point of the piece-- typographic analysis--is how much you learn about every other aspect of the film. This one narrow skew of the movie reveals so many other angles and tangents. Blade Runner is a film I already know too much about and I still learned so much more and had numerous "ah-ha" moments.
The first time we meet Deckard, he’s sat in the Los Angeles rain, idly reading a newspaper. The headline of this newspaper is FARMING THE OCEANS, THE MOON AND ANTARCTICA, in what looks like Futura Demi: Here’s a close-up shot of that newspaper prop, from an on-set photo of Harrison Ford and Ridley Scott: The subtitle reads WORLD WIDE COMPUTER LINKUP PLANNED, in what looks like Optima Bold. While the idea of a World Wide Computer Linkup might seem passé as we approach 2019, it was still very much unusual in 1982 when Blade Runner was released.Read the rest
You can type Mx instead or Mr and Ms to denote someone whose gender is unknown or nonbinary, "Latinx" is a gender-neutral and nonbinary-friendly version of Latina and Latino -- it's part of a wider trend to backforming gender neutrality into a language that assumes gender is a binary instead of a continuum. Read the rest
Typography is a rich, thought-provoking study with a deep, storied history. And yet, for most of us, it is an unremarkable aspect of modern life. We rarely stop to consider the fonts we use in our family newsletters; we do not question the availability nor the history of Times New Roman or Verdana. Typography surrounds us everywhere, every day, and yet we never see it.
Peter Dawson's The Field Guide to Typography: Typefaces in the Urban Landscape seeks to change that by introducing the reader to real-world examples. The book is replete with glossy, full-color photographs paired with histories, category, classification, identifying marks, and everything else you would expect of a working dictionary or encyclopaedia. Additionally, one of the most interesting and aesthetically pleasing aspects of the book are the breakdowns of individual fonts. These illustrations identify and label the various components of a typeface (baseline, descender, etc.) along with suggested meanings and evoked images or feelings.
Personally, I found this book while browsing art and design books and found myself captivated by its wealth of information and the stunningly clear way the book’s designers presented this heretofore ignored art that I could see all around me. For me, The Field Guide works not only as an invaluable reference book, but as an inspiration and work of art.
I did not intend to write such a somber review. In fact, I had a few (terrible) jokes in mind - Sans serif? Sounds like a beach accident, am I right? Read the rest
Australia-based illustrator Simon Koay reimagined the letters of the English alphabet as superheroes. Read the rest
Dean Vipond was asked to explain his job as a graphic designer to a class of four- and five-year-olds. Read the rest
Jake Elliott, who made Kentucky Route Zero along with Tamas Kemenczy and Ben Babbitt, is passionate about the role of text in games -- and he believes typographical choices can make a surprising impact on player experiences. Read the rest
Aravindan Thirunavukarasu urinated on a wall and then made a font out of the forms. Read the rest
The Better Letters tumblr has posted a massive gallery of the hand-lettered signs from Carter's Steam Fair, a touring vintage fair that stopped last weekend in Clissold Park in Stoke-Newington, London. Carter's is a family business, and it's a magnificent affair, even down to the gleaming, streamlined family trailers parked around the perimeter. Joby Carter, the fair's signpainter, is the son of the founder, John Carter, and he is part of a five-generation tradition of handpainted signs. My wife and I took our daughter and a friend to the fair yesterday and were amazed, thrilled and delighted by every single detail, from Voltini's Electrocution sideshow to the penny arcade where we gambled recklessly with enormous, Georgian pennies to the many rides and funhouses (and don't forget the steampunk QR code!). As my daughter's six-year-old friend said while we left, "This was the best day of my life!"