Thursday, February 13, 2014

Website of the Month: Typeset in the Future

This title card is set in Gill Sans, one of the all-time classic sans-serif fonts. 
In the world of feature-length fiction films, no genre presents a better opportunity to use typography to convey moods of optimism and dread in an uncertain future than science fiction.  A new website called Typeset in the Future explores how such masterful film auteurs as Stanley Kubrick deftly manipulate all the written words in their films to enhance and wryly comment on the story's action.  The website's initial foray is to the future that is already past for us, the outer-space world of 2001 as seen through the hopeful lens of 1968's "2001: A Space Odyssey". Thorough and very specific, the site delineates even the fonts used in company logos and to show numerical readouts on computer screens. Reading the essay-length page about "2001" is like a master class in filmic typography packed into a single blog entry.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
The Verge

Link to article:

Excerpt: "Typography plays a significant role in science fiction on television and in movies: apart from gleaming lens flare and FTL drives, fonts are an easy indicator that the action is happening in the future. Typeset in the Future has dedicated itself to investigating every notable instance of typography in sci-fi. And it recently started with Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Typeset in the Future painstakingly analyzes the typefaces in all the notable scenes in 2001, even investigating the historicity of the corporate fonts used by the likes of IBM, Pan Am, and Howard Johnson's. Kubrick himself, according to the site's analysis, also used fonts to create mood and a sense of time. For instance, the "Dawn of Man" sequence uses the Albertus font, which looks appropriately ancient given the context.

Eurostile Bold Extended vs. Univers 67 Bold Condensed 
What's really interesting is the tension Kubrick apparently creates with the font he uses when everything is fine and what he uses to connote things are going wrong. 2001 makes ample use of Eurostile Bold Extended, which would go on to gain considerable popularity in sci-fi. Later on, however, the fonts Futura and Univers show up more and more — on warning labels and life-sign terminals — to show things as they start going south. When people start dying, you can almost count on Univers 67 Bold Condensed to make an appearance. The site's take definitely shines a new light on the classic film."

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