Type Revival for Film & TV

Screenshot of subway scene in the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel looking down stairs at crowd of people coming off train.

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Season 5, Episode 2.

The Job

As a Graphic Designer for Film & TV, I work in the art department and create anything that is seen on screen with text and or imagery, such as storefront signs, food packaging, patterned wallpaper, stacks of bills, newspapers, lost cat flyers, or even children’s drawings. The range of items we create is incredibly broad, and the cool thing about that is it reframes graphic design from an exclusive, professional pursuit into a universal human activity. If everything is design, everyone is a designer. So instead of creating as “Leah Spencer, graphic designer,” I have to create as a shopkeeper, as a sign painter, as a college student, as an accountant, and so on.

Array of graphic designed items: newspaper, contract, kid's drawing, map, burlap bag, mail, plumber sign, hotel key, phone map app, binder

Some of the many items considered graphic design in the context of film and TV. In addition to designing these items, the graphics team is also responsible for physically making them in-house or sending them out to a vendor for fabrication.

Considerations for Typography

In addition to the challenges of forgery, I specialize in graphic design for period productions, and when you approach period typography, you wind up with several restrictions. Firstly, many typefaces that were used for letterpress or used in typewriters were never digitized and only survive today in their original forms or in their printed materials. Secondly, there are lots of existing digital period typefaces like Futura or Garamond, but they too have issues. We lack (or are logistically unable to use) historical production methods, such as mimeograph, Letraset, offset printing, Linotype, etc., so the kind of roughness you expect of period graphics is lost. We also have legal restrictions on font foundry use, so each production’s clearance team will tell you, for example, “you can only use Adobe fonts on this movie.” This can be restrictive, particularly for period or highly stylized productions where only a small portion of the available fonts are appropriate. And thirdly, there are lots of instances of lettering that were never a typeface in any sense, such as sign painting or handwriting.

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Mid-year font releases 2023

We have reached a good number of font releases in 2023. Halfway between 2022 and 2024 seems like a good moment for a recap. What happened in the font market in these first six months of 2023? Get ready for a font treatment. Experimental, neutral, bold, colourful, classy, expressive, playful…, there are options for all kinds of type tastes. Explore the list and consider adding some of these new typefaces to your font library.

Samples of Readex Pro, CoFo Sona, CoFo Gothic, SFT Schrifted Sans, and SFT Sushka

Readex Pro by Nadine Chahine, Bonnie Shaver-Troup, Thomas Jockin, Santiago Orozco & Héctor Gómez / CoFo Sona by Liza Rasskazova / CoFo Gothic by Maria Doreuli / SFT Scrhifted Sans and SFT Sushka by Yulia Gonina

Samples of Adelle Sans Korean, Arvana, Dragon, Neutronic Hangeul, and 29LT Zarid Sans HZL

Adelle Sans Korean by Chorong Kim & Changseop Im/ Arvana by Noheul Lee & Loris Olivier / Dragon and Neutronic Hangeul by Minjoo Ham / 29LT Zarid Sans HZL by Lisa Huang & Chuyang Zheng

Samples of Nova Caps, Isard, Foldit, Rosalie, and Min Sans Stencil

Nova Caps by Tania Chacana / Isard by Pilar Cano & Ferran Milan / Foldit by Sophia Tai/ Rosalie by My-Lan Thuong / Min Sans Stencil by TienMin Liao

Samples of Waverse, Ciudadela_LC, Carole Serif, Melindrosa, and Hanae

Waverse by TienMin Liao / Ciudadela_LC by Muk Monsalve / Carole Serif by Lisa Schultz & Matz Gasser / Melindrosa by Flavia Zimbardi / Hanae by Flavia Zimbardi & Ayaka Ito

Samples of Jobim, Octavia, Amberwood, Relais, and Lo-Res Monospaced

Jobim by Flavia Zimbardi & Inga Plönnigs / Octavia by Flavia Zimbardi & Tida Tep / Amberwood by Alanna Munro / Relais by Olivia Wood & Alezander Rütten / Lo-Res Monospaced by Zuzana Licko

Samples of Avril, Borel, Caliste, Ginka, and Scorpione

Avril by Laurene Girbal / Borel by Rosalie Wagner / Caliste by Émilie Rigaud / Ginka by Julie Soudanne / Scorpione by Pauline Fourest

Samples of Aeroplan, Filip, Mikrobe, Baustraße, and Anona

Aeroplan by Nina Faulhaber / Filip and Mikrobe by Elena Schneider / Baustraße by Franziska Weitgruber & Michele Galluzzo / Anona by Joana Correia

Samples of Baga, Loretta Display, Solfa, Joc Display, and Silverknife

Baga by Joana Correia / Loretta Display by Joana Correia & Abel Martins / Solfa by Catarina Vaz & Rui Abreu / Joc Display by Sabina Kipară / Silverknife by Diana Ovezea

Samples of Ceraph, Fuzar, Sixten, V1olet, and Konrad

Ceraph by Emma Piercy / Fuzar by Noheul Lee & Loris Olivier / Sixten by María Ramos & Noel Pretorius / V1olet by Carmen Nácher / Konrad by Martina Meier

Samples of Felicette, Kensington, Neue Swiss, Salad Days, and Socko

Felicette by Lynne Yun & Cris R. Hernández / Kensington by Jen Hood / Neue Swiss by Jen Wagner / Salad Days by Meg Lewis / Socko by Libbie Bischoff

There is a handy spreadsheet that compiles some extra information. It’s a living document, so if you want to see something added to this list, please send a comment.

👏👏👏 Congrats to the designers and engineers behind all these releases. We are looking forward to discovering what’s next in the second half.

Alphabettes Variety Show: June 15, 2023

Variety Show text with a gradient background and animated text

Alphabettes Variety Show is back for its 🤯6th edition🤯 of live interviews, interactive activities, and other surprises as part of TypeLab at Typographics. We’ll be mostly online again but if you’re in NYC, go check out the in-person TypeLab at Cooper Union.

Grab your mug of tea or beer or anything in between and join the TypeLab Europe channel on Thursday, June 15 from 11-12:00 (EDT/UTC-4)! Register here or check out the full list of event on the TypeLab site.

2023 Variety Show graphic by Sandra García featuring the soon-to-be-released typeface Sandhouse!