Let’s Talk Type

Although I am a copywriter through and through, I still like to consider myself a bit of a typography snob. That being said, I have come across two grievances that need to be addressed both which have been committed by Hollywood.

#1: The use of fun and creative fonts that completely go against the personality of the brand/product/message. I understand the desire to have a cool look for your television show and I respect the fact that it’s not just some common font pulled from Microsoft Word, but it needs to be consistent with the message you are trying to get across. For example, please watch the trailer below for a new television show:

American Horror Story. I feel like the title pretty much sums it up. The name alone conjures images of violence, gore, and sheer terror in the cliche, apple-pie household. Then why, pray tell, did the producers choose a font that resembles something you’d see on a classic Disney animated musical? This typeface is going to be associated with the show for as long as it airs (which thankfully doesn’t look like very long) in posters, press releases, episode teasers, hats, buttons, super-fan tattoos… and now people are going to think that it’s the name of a new theme park attraction.

Lion King could be considered a horror story. That stampede scene was horrifying!

#2: I saved the greatest grievance for last (and yes, I realize there are only two) because it is by far the worst and is completely inexcusable. Yes, I’m talking about the multimillion dollar blockbuster sensation Avatar. Regardless of your opinion of the special effects or whether or not the story was a cross between Fern Gully and Pocahontas, the fact is that, despite the astronomical budget and the years of effort put into making it the best movie possible, they chose to use Papyrus as the font for not only the subtitles, but the title of the film as well. That font had a good long life as the with The Crocodile Hunter and should never be used again. Why do people insist on using Papyrus for everything? And, most importantly, why did a film that broke all kinds of creative boundaries and box office records not fork over more money to commission a typography to create a new font to be forever attached to its fantastical world? That’s why Typographers exist. But no, instead they chose a font you can find on your home computer.

If you’re going to brag that your film has ties to “Titanic”, you’d better have a font that proves it.
Friar Tuck should not be able to afford James Cameron’s typographer.

Conclusion: Hollywood needs to start thinking about the authenticity of their branding and typographers need to step up and reprimand any future culprits.

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