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Why Game of Thrones uses the most lazy font of all (and other TV stories)

T

hey are definitely a marketing tool and in the best of cases a piece of typographic art. The carefully chosen fonts epitomize the spirit of the show that the viewer is about to experience in all its HD glory. Some can even argue that in a deeply subconscious level, TV logos, and the typefaces that are used to create them, invoke feelings attached to the spirit of the whole production. As nothing is left to chance in the war of the ratings, a good designer uses fonts and ideas, colours and concepts to provide the underlying basis for what is about to happen. Sp, with Emmy season almost upon us we decided to dive into the world of televised letterform. These are the most unforgettable, remarkable, recognizable brands of TV’s most precious legacies of our times. So please, get your remote control ready!

Game of Trajan
 

Series name: Game Of Thrones
Premiere episode: April 17, 2011
Original Channel: HBO
Known as: The most talked about show on earth (at least this is what Guardian thinks and we love Guardian, so...)
Font used: Trajan

Why: Set on the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos at the end of a decade-long summer, the series interweaves several plot lines unlike the series logo which is customized Trajan. Elegant yet overused, Carol Twombly's beautiful digitization of the classic Roman lettering is seen on countless posters, billboards and ads most commonly for films in the dramatic blockbuster category so it fits the show's concept quite well.

Was it obvious: This trend is well documented in a Flickr group, satirized in an epic video by Cheshire Dave (which you can enjoy at the bottom of the page) and mocked by Kirby Ferguson of Goodie Bag. Nevertheless the main title sequence for HBO’s ground-breaking fantasy series was the winner of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Title Design in 2011.

Mad Swiss


Series name: Mad Men
Premiere episode: July 19, 2007
Original Channel: AMC
Known as: "An adult drama of introspection and the inconvenience of modernity in a man's world" according to the San Francisco Chronicle
Font used: Swiss 721 Heavy

Why: Elegant yet daring, the font of this critically acclaimed period drama series is a variation of what most people commonly know as Helvetica. This sans-serif typeface in red/white combination is part of the show's carefully designed production which has been constantly praised for its obsessive re-creation of the style of its times.

However: It was a shock to the hardcore fans of the show, when a typeface expert noticed that the closing credits were using the Arial typeface which wasn't invented until 1982. This was the beginning of a long debate on the accuracy of the series' art direction and design.

Mackintosh horror story


Series name: American horror story
Premiere episode: October 5, 2011
Original Channel: FX Network
Known as: "So far over the top that the top is a microscopic speck in its rearview mirror" said HitFlix and its accuracy almost hurts.
Font used: Rennie Mackintosh

Why: The Rennie Mackintosh typeface which was created in 1993 by George R. Grant for the Charles Rennie Mack­in­tosh Font Company (CRMFontCo), after the Art Nouveau artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh refer­ence letter­forms as found in the works of the Scot­tish archi­tect and designer. Dark and classic this typeface might bring fear to its competitors.

Twist in the tail: Ryan Murphy, the 48yo mastermind that co-created AHS for FX network, wanted "Frank Lloyd Wright" font to be used in the logo of the 17 Emmy nominated in its debut season series. Hence, since the American architect was influenced by the Scotish artist, Kyle Cooper and his company Prologue suggested the use of the original nouveau goth typeface.

Bolding Bundy

Series name: Breaking Bad
Premiere episode: January 20, 2008
Original Channel: AMC
Known as: "One of television's finest dramatic accomplishments" is the way The A.V. Club wants to remember it. 
Font used: Arial MT Bold & Bundy

Why: Good guy turned bad, the story of the chemistry teacher Walter White who became the mastermind behind the biggest crystal meth operation in New Mexico by the name Heisenberg becomes evident by the use of the dual fonts as Arial MT Bold confederates with Bundy typeface to show the split personality of the main character.

It's all chemistry: It's all chemistry: In the title sequence of this series, that has won overall 94 industry awards and has been nominated for 240, the ach word contains a periodic table style symbol along with a broken font, a constant reminder of a life that is shredded into pieces as the show unfolds its superb storyline.

In case you are that lazy and you are not into reading what I have written Cheshire Dave will have a word with you

 

By Loukas Karnis