Typography Inspiration From Film

Typography Inspiration

Typography is everywhere, whether or not you are aware of it. It’s on the menu of your favorite restaurant, the movie poster displayed at your nearest cinema, the old and battered signs seen at your nearest train station, the advertisements passed on the road, the most recent app opened, and more! Whether you are designing something or if you just want to appreciate beautiful type design, here are a few typography inspirations from film to get you started!

 

Poster for The Grand Budapest Hotel (directed by Wes Anderson)

Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Generally, all Wes Anderson films are absolute eye-candy. The custom type, the color grading, the charming plots, the wonderful characters, and the incredible set and production design are just some of the few reasons why his films are so striking and memorable.

Stills of the production design of The Grand Budapest Hotel, including the box of Mendl's Cakes and an embroidered title card

The Grand Budapest Hotel is full of imagery and props featuring typography. Little details like the newspaper, the book covers, the packaging, and more are all carefully designed to appeal to the feel and the theme of the film.

 

 

A still of the title sequence to Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope as the intro text crawls up

The Star Wars Films (1977-2019)

Star Wars is one of the most famous and iconic film franchises in the world. Even if you’ve never watched a Star Wars film, you can’t deny that at one glance, the iconic typography that pops out is directly linked to the films. (Plus, the incredible score, too!)

The iconic Star Wars logo amidst the stars

The 1977 film and the 2019 film are galaxies apart, but what makes them nostalgic is how they still use the same type design for all the films—that’s more than 40 years of continuity and consistent branding!

In this case, typography plays a huge role. It situates the films in a larger franchise and calls out to its audience, from the large STAR WARS logo that shows up on all the merchandise to the yellow text that crawls from the bottom to the top of your screen at the start of each film.

 

 

The title card and a theatrical poster for Nosferatu (1922)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) and Nosferatu (1922)

Some of the best sources of film typography can be found in older movies, back when everything was done traditionally. The posters and all the graphics needed for the film were all done by hand—something rarely done today. (Perhaps you’re familiar with Nosferatu because of that ONE episode of Spongebob Squarepants.)

These two films are a huge influence on thriller and horror movies today; the spooky and sharp typography is just one example of why they set the benchmark for scary movies today. Anyone who could see the title cards could already imagine what type of film they’d be watching.

Title cards to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

In this case, the texture of the chosen font plays a part in how the audience perceives the movie. This prepares them for what they’re about to see.

 

 

A title card of the Studio Ghibli film, Grave of the Fireflies

Studio Ghibli Films

Studio Ghibli is known for its charming and heartwarming (or heartbreaking!) stories. Each film evokes a certain nostalgia with its simple themes and relatable characters that stand the test of time.

The typography of Studio Ghibli films is clean and classic—the title cards alone effectively already tell a story. Even if the title cards are in Japanese, the feeling each title card evokes transcends the boundaries of language.

 

 

The poster of Spiderman: Into The Spiderverse with a masked Miles Morales leaping above New York City

 

Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse (2018)

This masterpiece of a film completely embraces the comic book style and incorporates it throughout the entire film. Seeing that the source of almost all superhero movies come from comic books, the style of this film gives a nod to its origin.

A still from the film during Miles Morales's internal monologue as his superpowers first kick in

In the movie, elements usually seen in comic books and graphic novels are visualized through animation; things like internal dialogue and speech bubbles are used effectively. The effect of comic book typography in this film aids in the storytelling and does it so well.

The world of type is powerful. Each font brings a certain message, depending on how it’s going to be used. Design is one of the most subtle, yet powerful tools of the modern world. Now, there are millions and millions of movies out there with different styles and stories ready for you to explore. At the end of the day, inspiration is available for anyone to have if they look for it.

 

Written by Sophie Yu
Sophie Yu is a storyteller from Manila. If you love puns and terrible jokes, Yu'll most likely get along with her. Aside from writing, stationery hoarding, and taking care of her dogs, she also blogs at www.philosophieyu.com 👋


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