Apparently I wasn’t done yet.

So, in the movie Helvetica (see previous post), one type enthusiast talks about how before Helvetica came on the scene, all the ads were done in handwritten, jaunty-looking type. Everything. See?

ibm.jpg marlboro.jpg maidenform.jpg

Right now I’m working one some horror stuff for a client, and I found the poster for The Birds, the Alfred Hitchcock movie. And suddenly I understood the problem with this style of typesetting.


You know what this poster says to me? “Birds are attacking that lady… and the circus is in town!” Totally wrong type choice. And why are there quotes around the title? It’s like, “They’re not really birds… They’re weasels we tied wings to and threw at her head! Blahahahaha!” If only they knew they could make any horror film look horror-y by having a stark sans-serif font on a black background. Example:


Except for the “The Night HE Came Home!” part (oogie boogie boogie boo), this is a very scary ad. Thank God for Helvetica, or we’d still be looking at irritatingly jaunty-fonted ads.

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