Recently I re-watched Alien. It was nostalgic and brilliant, and very entertaining. However, the opening credits are what I wish to focus on, or rather, the fonts used for the opening credits.
It struck me that fonts have come an incredibly long way since 1979. The font seemed to be chosen for legibility. It’s blocky, serviceable and doesn’t add much to the overall tone of the film. It is easily readable, and you can quickly absorb what is being scripted on screen, which seems weird couple with the iconic Alien title font.
I came to the conclusion that typography wasn’t all that important then. Legibility was king. In the case of iconic Alien font, they were establishing a brand. In the case of the opening credits they wanted you to be able to easily read and absorb them.
Font development was just coming into it’s own, technology had advanced enough that you could develop and create your own font – and it was a young artform for the layman.
A huge font choice
Fast forward to now, and we have just started (I know we are late to this party) Game of Thrones. The opening sequence font choices have been carefully made to enhance the overall theme of the series, while still remaining legible. There are unique glyphs that have been added to the front of the names to add and enhance the show. The underlying map names have a different, complementing font that looks like script and adds to the sense that it is a painstakingly hand crafted map, further adding to the story.
Before you even watch one episode you already have a sense of the time period, how evolved the people are and what you should expect. Adventure, intrigue and a sweeping epic of a story.
It is amazing how we now understand just how important the unspoken messages fonts give to your audience. We now choose fonts carefully and with thought. And if you don’t, you should.
Fonts imply tone
Fonts form the base of what you want to say and how you want people to absorb it. It is a way of establishing your brand or message, without you having to say anything.
Think about it: people are inevitably going to assume certain things based on your font choice – you’d best make sure that the right things are being assumed, or your words may be compromised.
And with the many stunning fonts out there, you can definitely craft your message well, and with very little extra work.