Typographic howlers

November 22, 2009

We’ve all heard of or seen the bloopers and technology howlers in movies (like the guy wearing a watch in a chariot scene from Ben Hur). In fact, there are TV shows, websites, blogs etc. dedicated to the science and technology portrayed in movies and how correct (or not) they are compared to real life.

Movie studios spend many dollars getting costumes and settings just right. But sometimes they miss the small things — really small things, like the typeface used on the objects.

It seems there are typography purists out there who watch movies and see their own howlers, like this one:

Take “Titanic,” in which the numbers on the dials of the ship’s pressure gauges use Helvetica, a font designed in 1957, some 45 years after the real “Titanic” sank. (from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/16/arts/16iht-design16.html?_r=2&em)

I wonder how many others there are — I suspect thousands, as I’d imagine the set designers don’t really think about the suitability and age of a typeface on an object.


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