Typecasting type

I’m not a font purist. I stick with the basics. Helvetica will do me… I like the idea of straying from the pack – but I’m no fontrepreneur.

It seems treading the line on fonts is more perilous than I thought… font purists are out there. Watching. Waiting for a slip up. Especially when it comes to the use of fonts in movies and television programs.

Choosing an inappropriate typeface is one problem. Applying one inaccurately is another. Sadly for type nuts, movies often offend on both counts. Take “Titanic,” in which the numbers on the dials of the ship’s pressure gauges use Helvetica, a font designed in 1957, some 45 years after the real “Titanic” sank. Helvetica was also miscast in “Good Night and Good Luck,” which takes place in the early 1950s. “I still find it bizarre to see type or lettering that is wrong by years in a period movie in which the architecture, furniture and costumes are impeccable, and where somebody would have been fired if they were not,” said Matthew Carter, the typography designer based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Leah says:

While I'd otherwise agree, I do see Carter's point. They get so paranoid over getting minor architecural and lighting details right but then not text… it does seem a little odd.

Amy says:

Obviously typographers have to complain as loud as the set complainers…