Brand typography is a very powerful aspect of design. In movie poster design, brand typography can also be very predictable. But it’s helpful in letting you know what kind of movie you’re in for.
The clichés are everywhere. You can probably recognize some on your own. Just about every genre of movie has used Trajan, and some more serious or action-oriented movies use Copperplate Gothic. Even if you don’t know the names of the font, you know how they look.
On the opposite end of the spectrum there are the handful of movies that went the extra design mile. These are films that took the step of designing custom brand typefaces to best embody their visual language. Those movies commissioned fonts for use on posters, title cards, and credits.
The most famous example of this is Moonrise Kingdom. Director Wes Anderson is a notorious perfectionist, known for having a say over every aspect of his final films. This extends to his typeface choices, which he makes deliberately. For Moonrise Kingdom in particular, he commissioned a custom script font from notable lettering designer, Jessica Hische. The font is as distinct as the film, and gives the title a hand-written quality that’s in-line with the plot of the film.
The short film Polis also uses a custom font for its title. The typeface shows the architecture of the letters with razor thin lines and mechanical constructions. It’s a very appropriate fit for the sci-fi thriller themes of Polis, and helps set the tone for the rest of the film.
The blockbuster superhero movie Black Panther also featured custom fonts – eight of them. In addition to the font shown above the type designer, Zach Fannin, created seven other fonts to represent the Wakandan language. That attention to detail made scenes in the fictional country feel fully-fleshed-out. That’s exactly what good typeface design should do; establish a clear voice, even if the audience can’t read the text.
Fonts don’t need to be custom to be perfect for a brand, though. The Netflix show Stranger Things has a famous title sequence, using an outline version of the font ITC Benguiat. Lady Bird uses a blackletter font, Amador, for its distinctive title. The horror movie Get Out uses an extended bold weight of Helvetica for its blocky typography.
There are literally tens of thousands of possible choices when creating, or designating, brand typography. The key to making the right design choice, as always, is knowing who you are and what you want to accomplish. It also helps to employ a professional, like me!
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