Weird font choice

I just caught the opening credits of "Star Trek: First Contact" on TV and was rather perplexed. I understand that Eurostile Bold Extended is overused, but who in their right mind would think that ITC Benguiat suggests ‘futuristic’?

Comments

  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,517
    Remember that in any era graphic design is mostly about following trends...
  • André G. IsaakAndré G. Isaak Posts: 400
    This is true, but I must have missed the particular trend.
  • Yves Peters also has a lovely write-up at https://www.fontshop.com/content/the-typography-of-star-trek

    As for Benguiat, he mentions it was used twice in succession:
    The title sequences for the Next Generation films didn’t feature the typical Star Trek fonts neither, but more conventional typography. Star Trek Generations and Star Trek: First Contact had the ITC Benguiat® typeface, Star Trek: Insurrection used the ITC Elan™ typeface, and Star Trek: Nemesis Exocet.

  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,130
    Yves' piece is great. Star Trek's typography is a mess.  :)
  • André G. IsaakAndré G. Isaak Posts: 400
    I appreciate the lessons in Star Trek font history — I’ve never really been much of a Trekkie so I hadn't noticed these before. Galaxy and Crillee make sense to me. The others, not so much (especially Exocet which to me has more Gothic (in the non-typographic sense) connotations).
  • With so little time left in our lives do we really need to worry about these stupid things?

  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,151
    @James Montalbano I can feel that door closing ;-)
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 425
    but who in their right mind would think that ITC Benguiat suggests ‘futuristic’?
    If Benguiat is given context, if the lower-case is used, yes, it doesn't look futuristic.

    But in a pinch, if the context suggests the printing is supposed to look futuristic, Benguiat could do in a pinch.
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 893
    edited May 12
    Since the future hasn't happened yet, there's no font choice that's obviously wrong!  Maybe things will play out that Benguiat is the only font used in the 24th century! :-) In 1825 I bet nobody would have thought that 150 years from then, really bold Caslons would be the rage.

    (Or maybe we're in a multiverse, in which case it's a fair bet there's an alternate universe in which the 24th century is dominated by 1970s ITC fonts.)
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,151
    if people still read then.
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,517
    Especially in the Latin script...
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 404
    edited May 13
    With so little time left in our lives do we really need to worry about these stupid things?

    I intend to live forever.
    So far, so good.

    And compared to actual present-day technology, StarTrek seems sooo quaint to me :)
  • K PeaseK Pease Posts: 34
    All futurism is nostalgia. Especially now. It's too late for every future we've ever imagined, each of which springs from a point in the past that needed to go differently thereafter. Benguiat reminds us of pulp covers from the '70s and '80s.

    Star Trek, specifically, is a universe where, impossibly, all creative culture ceased at the dawn of the 20th century and all they have to talk about is Shakespeare, Melville, Doyle, Gilgamesh, and more Shakespeare, over and over. If anything, it's surprising the number on the hull is not in Caslon.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 892
    edited May 13
    While it's easy to snark on Trek type, I do love the Star Trek the Motion Picture typeface. When I look at Star Trek design in general, I think it mimics whatever the contemporary corporate look was at the time it was made. I don't mean the fonts, just look at the bridge designs. Add an IBM Selectric to the original series or an IBM 5170 to Next Gen and they'd blend right in. But the typography doesn't always match that look. Crillee, use for Next Gen didn't look out of place in 1987.

    But Star Trek the Motion Picture's typeface seemed to allude to an elegant future aesthetic. That look probably had roots in the disco deco look that was hot in 1979 but it works in a sci-fi context. Even though I was 9 when I saw that movie, I recall noticing that the swashes on the S and K mimicked the Star Wars logotype. I think it had a gold airbrush effect in the opening titles but my memory might be playing tricks on me. Benguiat feels like 1970's Americana to me and in a futuristic context it makes as much sense as a cowboy-style slab serif. Sure, maybe in the future everything will be written in old timey Western fonts or Crillee or Benguiat. But in 2019 it feels implausible and incongruous.

    While new Star Wars releases and Star Trek Motion Picture used ITC Serif Gothic, I think it works as a sci-fi font as it doesn't have too much old Americana style.
  • Andrew WoodAndrew Wood Posts: 42
    Crillee would be a nominally good, but stylistically bad choice for the titles of Father Ted.

  • Ben BlomBen Blom Posts: 235

    What a font “suggests”, is only in the head of the beholder. The idea that a font is “futuristic”, “female”, “male”, “happy”, or whatever, is a cultural thing. None of those labels are inherent in the design of a font. If you want, you can be a member of a “subculture” using a specific label—or you can just ignore any of those arbitrary labels.

  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,517
    edited May 13
    Ben Blom said:

    What a font “suggests”, is only in the head of the beholder. The idea that a font is “futuristic”, “female”, “male”, “happy”, or whatever, is a cultural thing. None of those labels are inherent in the design of a font. If you want, you can be a member of a “subculture” using a specific label—or you can just ignore any of those arbitrary labels.

    I find this stance to be anti-design, anti-cultural.

    K Pease said:
    All futurism is nostalgia.

    It's too late for every future we've ever imagined, each of which springs from a point in the past that needed to go differently thereafter.
    This is lucid and lyrical. Thank you.
  • K Pease said:
    All futurism is nostalgia. Especially now. It's too late for every future we've ever imagined, each of which springs from a point in the past that needed to go differently thereafter. Benguiat reminds us of pulp covers from the '70s and '80s.
    Ehm… At any rate, you can always think about “dystopian” futures. There’s plenty of room for that, especially if one keeps swaying between fatalism and un-lifelikeness. :)
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