TYPECASTING – The Use ( and Misuse ) of Period Typography in Movies
September 11th, 2012
There’s a new trend in Typography Design now where Hollywood is to blame for many Graphic Designers being totally unable to enjoy certain movies. No, it doesn’t involve bad story lines, crappy special effects, or even horrible acting, the main reason some people can’t enjoy a film is because, “Dammit, This movie is set in the year 1944 and they’re using Helvetica as a typeface, which was not even invented until 1957, arrgghh!”.
Yes, we’re talking about the misuse of Typography. Most of the general public don’t even notice it as long as it looks good. But there are many very serious people out there ( Font-Freaks ) who love, study and obsess over FONTS so much that they know the entire history of them and when they see a FONT used incorrectly it drives them crazy!
The photos up above are a pretty good example of what we’re talking about. They show scenes from the recent movie “The Artist”, which was set in the late 1920′s “Silent Movie” era, and you can see their use of fonts in Signage, Magazine Covers, etc. All this stuff has to be created by Prop Designers and they do try their best to “make the stuff look good”. But sometimes they’re not experts and they end up using font styles that didn’t even exist in certain eras.
Now, One guy who studies this sort of thing is a Font Designer named Mark Simonson. He designs FONTS for commercial use and recently started a brand-new career where he is hired by Hollywood to “make sure they’re using the super-correct font” for their film productions. It’s a whole new industry that’s popping-up! As more of the viewing public are getting more familiar with Graphic Design history it’s become more important to use this talent, especially in “period movies”. Something to think about, ha!
We’re just touching on the subject lightly here, but if you visit Mark’s Website/Blog then you will totally see what we’re talking about. He shares a ton of examples from many popular movies and the analysis is pretty interesting, just CLICK HERE!