Studying the typography of 2001: A Space Odyssey

Tuesday, 11 February, 2014

Dave Addey scrutinises the use of typography in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and turns up a whole stack of details I hadn’t really given much thought to previously, including the way Stanley Kubrick set out the film’s title card:

[The] title card is set in Gill Sans, one of the all-time classic sans-serif fonts. Perhaps surprisingly, the zeroes in “2001” appear to be set with the Gill Sans capital letter O, rather than its zero character.

By the looks of it, this is the first in series of articles that Addey will be writing on the use of typography in science fiction movies.

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The typography of great film directors precedes them

Tuesday, 18 September, 2012

Even seconds after the title sequence commences, there’s no missing the fact you’re about to see a Woody Allen film. The white font on the black screen is after all a hallmark of his work.

Allen isn’t the only director with a distinct typographic style though, the work of filmmakers such as Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Sofia Coppola, and David Fincher, is likewise just as recognisable for the same reasons.

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Ditching Helvetica is easy when there are classy alternatives

Wednesday, 1 February, 2012

If I ever decide to replace Helvetica as the main text font on disassociated.com – and who knows I might one day – I’d probably go with either Aperçu or Alright Sans… they’re two of five suggestions from Bobby Solomon for those looking for a sans-serif alternative to the venerable old Swiss developed typeface.

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The turn of a friendly card by way of a classic font

Tuesday, 22 November, 2011

Helveticards by Ryan Myers

Helveticards: the deck of cards is given a fresh new look thanks to both Helvetica, and Tennessee designer Ryan Myers.

(Thanks LisaK)

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ASCII art… the surprise art development of the Romantic Era

Friday, 21 October, 2011

Keyboard symbol illustration

Images created using alphanumeric and special keyboard characters, which are often referred to as ASCII art, are by no means the product of recent decades.

Artworks and illustrations consisting of keyboard symbols, or typographical ornaments, predate even the advent of typewriters, as examples of such images, dating back to 1740 – which can be found at the Providence Public Library Special Collections Department, located in the US state of Rhode Island – go to show.

Keyboard symbol illustration

Read more about this early “ASCII art” here.

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Designing movie posters using only film title initials

Monday, 20 June, 2011

Patrik Svensson has created a series of movie posters that are mostly made up using just the first letters from the words of the film’s title.

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Neue Haas Grotesque brings out the best of Helvetica on screen

Monday, 6 June, 2011

New York based type designer Christian Schwartz has created a restored version of the Helvetica font, which he has called “Neue Haas Grotesque”, based on the original handset metal type, which was developed by Swiss type designers Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann in 1957.

Schwartz’s reworking of Helvetica consists of two variations, one for print, and more notably, a digital version for display, which will deliver a more faithful rendering of the font in digital form.

Helvetica’s detractors rail that it is boring, but after spending time working on Neue Haas Grotesk, Schwartz argues that Helvetica “was never intended to be the cold, perfect, rational typeface people believe it is. There is a subtle warmth in the shapes that was lost over the years. When designers use existing digital versions of Helvetica, they are using a compromised version of Miedinger’s original drawings and Hoffmann’s original ideas, and while I don’t think the original should replace what has come after it, I think it’s nice to have the choice.”

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disassociated goes fourth

Monday, 2 May, 2011

The last time I refreshed the look of disassociated.com I called it version three, so I guess this revamp could be called version four.

  • The most obvious change is the ditching of the logo. Logos were a fad on personal websites back in 2007, but they are a bit, well, 2007 now.
  • For better or worse comments are mostly off. Truth be told the style of posting here doesn’t really suit comments for the most part. They haven’t gone completely though.
  • A lot of older posts dated prior to 2008 have been archived (but not deleted)… in the context of disassociated today many of them were out of place.
  • Trebuchet MS has replaced Georgia as the font in the post titles. Helvetica, or Arial depending on your system, remains as the article/post font.
  • I managed to reduce the size of the style sheet, which I’ve been using since 2004, by about 20%… think redundant, or worse still, duplicate styles. Hmm.
  • The Art Show List has been revamped and given more identity… check it out.
  • I’m trying to manage time a little better so daily posting will be slightly reduced, freeing up time for other things, such as the Art Show List.

The next stop will likely be an HTML5 fit out, but since that will require another week off, it probably won’t happen for a while. Anyway I hope you like the refreshed look as it is.

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Redesigning the New York subway system with Helvetica

Thursday, 31 March, 2011

In the 1960s graphic designers Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda, attempting to make the New York subway system easier for commuters to use, proposed standardised signage, made with the Helvetica font, be deployed in stations across the network.

By the 1960s, using the New York subway meant navigating what a John Lindsay-era task force called “the most squalid public environment of the United States: dank, dingily lit, fetid, raucous with screeching clatter, one of the world’s meanest transit facilities.” The ugly and baffling signs underlined the city government’s loss of control.

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Choose your own font with the typographic version of Scrabble

Wednesday, 9 March, 2011

Scrabble board design by Andrew Clifford Capener

Andrew Clifford Capener has devised a version of the popular word game Scrabble especially for lovers of typography… the A-1 Scrabble designer edition:

The purpose of this project was to revive an old, but loved game. The idea was to excite people about typography by giving them the ability to choose what font their scrabble set would come in. The set would be available in the font of your choice or with an assorted font pack.

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