Typografriday: Movie Typecasting, Gotham

I am late to the commenting-on-movie fonts game, having been beat to the punch by Yves Peter’s excellent ScreenFonts column (which analyzes contemporary movie posters) and of course Trajan is the Movie Font / Big Red Text / Hand-drawn Block Letters (youtube pieces which catalog movie poster type trends: Trajan on everything, Gill Sans Extra Bold et al in red on dumb summer comedies, handdrawn outline text for indie-quirky)

I want to take this opportunity to comment on something that according to my weak googling I may have the scoop on… I noticed it when I was flipping through the local newsweekly this week (early December) three presumably Oscar-aiming films, Invictus, A Single Man and The Lovely Bones.

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You see it right? Gotham? Used in all caps in its bolder weights in 2009 it still carries strong resonances of HOPE and CHANGE and YES WE CAN. Indeed the upward flight of birds in The Lovely Bones poster and the upward looking Damon and serious looking Freeman are from not only the Obama/Hope playbook but also the rising swell of a John Williams score, the slow-mo on a triumphant smile, the whole town breaking into applause, the gleam of hope that this distillation of big hollywood production dollars into filmic pathos brings home the trophies.

A few years back, Trajan was still being used for this sort of film. But now it’s been relegated to the likes of Hellblazer and The Hills Have Eyes… to strike the right chord of gravitas and respectability in your drama, Gotham is the new go-to. I know a set of three does not exactly a trend make but take my word for it, there’ll be more. You heard it here first: Gotham is the Oscar Movie Font.

TypograFriday: Mostra Nuova

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Type designer Mark Simonson’s 2001 Art Deco type Mostra has been in our sights for some time now, ever since we got a few weights with our Indie Fonts 2 book (probably the only type we’ve used from the book.) The classic elegance of a Futura, Nobel or Kabel but with far more deco/period display quirkiness: it looks fantastic and interesting from light to black. Now he’s expanded the family into Mostra Nuova, not only OpenTyping his bevy of alternates into single typefaces but adding a fashionable hairline thin weight and a lowercase (imagineered without too much help from his original Italian poster sources, which rarely had lowercase.)

Simonson was smart to revisit this type. Since his original release of Mostra, deco-bordering modern sans like Neutraface, Gotham and Chalet/Comprime have become amazingly successful. And on the other side of things, deco display faces are being created and revived all the time. Mostra was in danger of becoming the godfather of a typographic revival trend but not a relevant player in it: Mostra Nuova corrects that.

It’s still got those arch-modernist elegant-but-odd proportions throughout, so don’t expect it to overtake Neutraface or Gotham in omnipresence. But I’m super-glad that its been added to the modern sans options: I recently made a poster that used Neutraface 2 for its “posterness” but found it came off a little more cold or generic than I wished. Next time I’ll be spec’ing Mostra Nuova.

Myfonts’ Interview with Simonson here. My wishlist for a Mostra Ultra Nuova, preemptively: ahistorical ligatures a la Avant Garde, a more regularized text variant a la Neutraface 2, a layerable 2-color cut a la Bifur, a sketch/irregular form a la the German and Austrian posters of the same period – Lucian Bernhard et al.

Evelin Kasikov

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I first became aware of Evelin Kasikov last week when some of her work was featured on Black Eiffel. I was completely blown away and contacted her immediately to see if she was interested in being the first of our mini-interviews with artists, designers and crafters. Evelin graciously accepted. After reading her responses to our questions, I think I might love her work even more. I definitely recommend spending some time looking at her site and exploring some of the other pages of her beautiful books.

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Read the complete Q & A and see more work, after the jump.

Continue reading Evelin Kasikov

TypograFriday: Wayne White

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Todd Oldham has a book coming out in a few days, entitled Maybe Now I’ll Get the Respect I So Richly Deserve. It’s not about himself; he’s got respect aplenty after all. It’s about Wayne White, and honestly it’s a hilariously appropriate title for the first comprehensive monograph of an artist who’s been making awesome and original art for 30 years.

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Beauty’s Embarrassin!

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What’d I Tell Ya?

His M.O. for the last decade has been basically painting giant, usually funny typography “realistically” into mass-produced “kitsch” landscape paintings — that is to say, using their perspective and lighting and often reflections and gravity too. This, years before things like Panic Room‘s opening titles made a trend of floating type in physical perspective, or for that matter before indie artists made upcycling/overpainting found art cool.

Oh, and he used to do sets for Pee Wee’s Playhouse, and directed Peter Gabriel’s video for “Big Time” — possibly the best video ever. Several more paintings [PG-13 for language], and the Big Time video (because we both know it’s been too long) after the jump.

Continue reading TypograFriday: Wayne White

TypograFriday: Rubik’s Cube Font Generator

I thought this was so cool, it just begged to be a second Font-y Friday.

For the assignment, “Produce a visual representation for the word ‘Move’,” Jas Bhachu created a rubber stamp set that can be used in varying combinations to create type. I love the packaging and instruction booklet too.

I wish it were available to purchase, because I really wanted to buy one for Owen (he was always a huge fan of using the letterpress equivalent when setting metal type).

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via Design Observer.

TypograFriday

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This French Vogue font is art to me (found via Lolita).

We’re past this now.

So the New York Times Magazine this week was The Green Issue. The articles are pretty good, and they’re online with what looks like a lot of other media. I am excited for instance about electric cars that swap batteries rather than refuel. The weekly profile is on Stewart Brand (Whole Earth Catalog, WELL, Clock of the Long Now), who is fascinating and inspiring. But here’s my gripe: Windsor?
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For this issue, the magazine’s feature headlines are all set in this most un-current of types. I know that I am a type geek, but I bet you can see it too this time: these bulbous, deco-a-go-go letters signify the past as surely as tie-dyes with bell-bottoms. Look at the characters “2009″: it looks frickin’ ludicrous to see our current date clothed in this type. It looked old-fashioned the first time Woody Allen used it (he favors the condensed cut) and it’s only gotten more willfully apart-from-the-times in the dozen times he’s kept using it since. (It looked old-fashioned even in the 1970s; like so much of the vernacular type of the day it was stolen from the art movements from half a century ealier.)

The rationale seems to be because it was used for the Whole Earth Catalog, but that doesn’t fly with me. This indicates to me the reader that environmentalism is best thought of as a phase from the 70s. If you’re going to report on the state of the world right now, NYTM, please please don’t use the vernacular type of yesteryear. In fact unless you want to evoke the 70s best to just keep your ITC locked away.

Ok, rant over.

TypograFriday: Splendid Slabs

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Owen and I are big fans of slab serifs (and clarendons, for those who make the distinction) — they feel simultaneously classic and contemporary, and often feel fresher than a sans serif. Here are a few of our favorites; many of these typefaces are also available at MyFonts which we think is a great site.

Row 1:
Zapata
— An absurdly extended clarendon that is fun without looking too goofy.

Rosewood — I remember seeing Rosewood Fill (without the circusy outline) for the first time in 1998 and thinking it was awesome. Sadly, since then it has been used to death and we kind of avoid it.

Row 2:
Archer
— Archer is at the top of our fonts-we-want list. You can see it put to great use all over Martha Stewart’s brand. (It was initially commisioned of H&FJ for Martha Stewart Homes)

Clarendon Text — We bought this cut of Clarendon — which has been regularized a bit to make it work for text — for a book we designed about the Center for Land Use Interpretation‘s residency in Houston. The lovely brown highway signs that mark national parks are set in Clarendon (or were until recently) and it has a good “Texas look,” so it seemed a perfect fit.

Row 3:
Freight Micro — Previously on top of our fonts-we-want list; now on top of the fonts-we’ve-bought list. The angles on the italics are beautiful and unexpected — and basically just pretty frickin’ awesome.

Apex Serif — The slab serif of the Apex family (Apex Sans, Apex Serif and Apex New), it’s one of our old favorites. Until recently, we felt it was a secret from the world — I guess the party’s over now that Best Buy has started using Apex New on their signage, store circulars and website.

Row 4:
Girard Slab — The latest slab to draw our attention, it has lots of great ligatures and looks like it would be a lot of fun to work with.

The Serif — Luc de Groot’s superfamily Thesis outdoes all contenders in sheer volume; there’s the original sans, serif and mix, each in eight weights, small caps and italics. Since 2000 he’s contiuned with it, adding some new weights and a mono-spaced version. Quantity aside, The Serif is quite beautiful, and stays so from light to black.

The latest diversion

A great way to waste time while honing your type skills:

Deep Font Challenge

via I Love Typography

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