The Mary Tyler Moore font
- Blog Post by: James Lileks
- December 31, 2012 - 12:29 PM
No lists! Okay, one list. It’s the law. But first:
MOVIES The lowest grossing film of 2012 was “Playback,” with Christian Slater. It made $265. Sometimes these “releases” are just technicalities, done for legal reasons. The story notes that the lowest-grossing wide release is the “Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure,” which opened in over 2,000 theaters and took in about $448,000. Never has a creative vision been so roundly rejected, and for good reason; that thing made the Teletubbies look like a Lars Von Trier film.
It’s also a reminder about the power of advertising: marketing costs were $40 million. Didn’t do a thing.
HISTORY In 1966 Henry Ford II commissioned a redesign of the classic Ford logo. The man who’d done UPS, IBM, Bell and others came up with this - which Ford rejected. I think I know why: it’s the R.
The more they looked at it the more it bothered them.The more I look at it, it looks like a little man is pulling “Fo” behind him. Full story is here.
LIST Here’s a list of Most Hated Fonts. Are these the most hated fonts of 2012? No. Can’t find a list of hated fonts for the last year; it takes years for the hate to build up. People can be interested in Lobster at the start of the year, tired of it six months later, disappointed with sites that use it three months later. True hate builds up. There’s Peignot, aka the Mary Tyler Moore font. Agreed.
One of the designers says Brush Script is worse than Comic Sans; men have dueled with pistols at high noon over less serious charges.
Brush Script was originally designed by Robert E. Smith, and released into the wild by American Type Founders in 1942.
Released into the jungle? you ask. No, “in the wild” was a term for the general world, and made the list of “Most Hated Internet Writing Cliches” back in 2007.We continue:
. In his book “Just My Type,” author Simon Garfield mentions that “if you were ever persuaded by government posters to bathe with a friend or dig for victory, then the persuading was probably done in Brush Script.” I cannot fathom why the public as a whole would be subjected to such a font, especially when compared to the much more clean-cut and graphically appealing nature of Gil Sans (from “Keep Calm and Carry On” fame).
Perhaps he could fathom why the public as a half- or quarter-whole could be subjected to it. In case you need to be reminded:
Perhaps he could do quick google search and look at the many propaganda posters online, few of which seem to use Brush Script. And by “few” I mean “None as far as I can tell.” Big blunt sans-serifs abound. But perhaps Simon was exaggerating for the sake of having some fun. Hah! Dig for victory. Right.
Maybe not. Here’s where I begin to wonder about this typographic expert, Mr. Garfield:
While Brush Script is supposed to be a “quaint and consistent type that looked as if it was written by a fluid, carefree human,” Garfield points out that “no one you had ever met actually wrote like that.”
You could say the same thing about virtually every piece of handwritten typography in advertising. The author goes on to note that Brush Script has spawned other script fonts.
People aren’t fooled – there’s not a string quartet sitting in your living room, waiting to play a merry little entrance march to announce the arrival of a dinner guest. And Brush Script isn’t the work of a caring sign-painter or concerned matron giving you a kind-but-necessary reminder in the form of a handwritten little note.
It’s probably sufficient to say the font was over-used, since it came pre-loaded on so many machines, and should be avoided. I think that sums it up and no one’s embarrassed.
Then it’s three knock-out blows. I can agree with the last three choices entirely. But here’s the conclusion:
There are hundreds of thousands of fonts and typefaces to choose from, each with their own characteristics and personalities. But, that doesn’t mean you can use them all. If there is one little nugget of advice we can give on choosing the perfect font to support your message – imagine the font as a great actor and ask yourself, “Is it James Cagney or Jimmy Stewart, or is it Richard Little doing James Cagney or Jimmy Stewart?” Avoid the font that’s trying to be something it’s not, and go for the classics.
Mistral, one of the hated fonts, hails from the 80s. Peignot is from the 70s. The most hated of all, Hobo, can be found in 1920s magazines.
In other words, classics.
MEDIA Came across this review of Young Frankenstein, one of my favorite movies. The site’s nicely designed, has upscale ads, and a thriving forum with over a quarter-million posts in the “General horror” forum alone.
As for specific horror, here’s what popped up in my Zite feed today. I assume people are paid for this.
From the opening black and white sequence in Young Frankenstein, that conveys a strongly ominous and foreboding atmosphere I believe what is immediately clear is the respect that Mel Brooks and his cinematographer Gerald Hirschfeld has for the original 1930 films.
I mention this in case your New Years Resolutions include “reading as many high-school English assignments as possible. Really, it’s all like that: stating the obvious in a tone that mistakes “wordy” for “insightful,”
Crucially the contrasting black and white cinematographic style allows the audience to appreciate the originals strong influences of german expressionist cinema. What also so effectively conveys the original are the suitably impressive and detailed sets which helps to continue this aesthetic throughout the film’s running time.
A distinct and strong sense of atmosphere is also achieved so well through the suitably grand and fine musical score by John Morris. From these various elements we can only assume that that the production crew oversaw extensive research on the original James Whale films.
Yeah, one might assume that. Otherwise the similarities between the Whale films and Brook’s version might be absolutely coincidental.
Love to see what he writes about Oogieloves, though. Happy New Year!
© 2016 Star Tribune