Typographically, he’s been very consistently an all-caps-Futura man. While he outlined it for The Life Aquatic, Bollywood half-opened something not-quite-Futura for The Darjeeling Limited and emboldened and threw it on a curve for Fantastic Mr. Fox, he’s established an iconic typographic style that is very recognizable. That said, I’m not at all sad that he hired the fabulous Jessica Hische to make a custom script for this one! It fits in with his aesthetic perfectly, and grants the coming of age story a wistfulness that the cold caps of Futura wouldn’t.
*Note that all-caps Futura does make an appearance at least thrice in the trailer, notably on the awesome mimeographed-handwriting-practice-paper letterhead.
One of my favorite artists ever is Ben Shahn; his linework was terrific, his color sense really interesting, his sociopolitics inspirational, and his handlettering fantastic.
Above and below, a few scans from the book November Twenty Six Nineteen Hundred Sixty Three, a Wendell Berry poem about JFK’s death which he illustrated and lettered. I’ve tried lettering with jaunty mixes of thicks and thins like this before, and let me tell you, it’s super tough to keep it from not looking totally goofy. That he set type as serious as a poem about national grieving using it is astonishing.
A few other of his pieces which incorporate his fantastic lettering:
Public Sale, 1956
Parade for Repeal, 1933
Teach thy tongue to say I do not know and thou shalt progress? Such a good quote.
For those of you who are font-hungry, there are (at least) two fonts on the market which are based on Shahn’s lettering: Bensfolk from Haroldsfonts and thorny tuscan Rendevous GRP from Grype. Although both are pretty nice, the supersmart Opentype version with dozens of smart contextual alternates that rotate in… is sadly yet to be made. You’ll just have to use a pen, folks.