Lorraine Wild | Essays

Good Font, Shame About The Reporting

Melinda Sue Gordon/Warner Independent Pictures.

Typography is an unlikely subject for newspaper reporters, but when it does make news, it's perhaps worthy of a closer look. And in yesterday's premier 2006 edition of The New York Times, the paper featured not one, but two stories in which type was not only cited, but cited incorrectly.

It's a vexing start to the new year — a harbinger, I fear, of even more typographic doom.

The first story was a piece by Peter Edidin on the Directions page (Good Film, Shame About the Helvetica), an interesting spin on the jarring typographic anachronisms that routinely mar historical films — which, by the way, only seem to be noticed by type obsessives like myself and perhaps a few others (fellow Design Observer Michael Bierut comes to mind.) For starters, the picture accompanying the piece — a still from Good Night, and Good Luck, is a visual oxymoron: clearly, whoever was responsible for putting that Helvetica behind George Clooney either (A) ignored the fact that CBS had a perfectly adequate logo back in the Edward R. Murrow era (a logo that would have been pretty easy to locate and lift for the film) — or worse, (B) said person, convinced that certain things like Helvetica are timeless, decided that this did not oblige the poster to adhere to principles of historical accuracy.

Let me quickly add here that CBS Creative Director William Golden's famous "Eye" logo made its television debut on October 20, 1951. See it Now, (the Edward R. Murrow program dramatized in GNAGL) premiered less than a month later — on November 18 of that same year. (Times journalists take note: this act of labor-intensive research took .38 seconds on Google.)

Sadly, the person responsible for this act of typographic malfeasance remains a complete mystery to the reader: he or she is, instead, protected by the reporter who somehow never manages to identify a production designer, set decorator, property master or design consultant — any number of individuals (depending upon the production) who might be responsible for the use of graphic design in a film. Though the critics of these anachronisms are named, none of the guilty parties are — leaving it up to those of us who sit patiently through the high-speed scrolling at the end of the film to concoct our own Halls of Shame, our own imaginary perp walks for the typographically unenlightened (if well-paid) hacks who somehow manage to avoid fact-checking that includes even the slightest debt to design history (another term, by the way, completely left out of Edidn's piece.)

Not to be outdone, Christian Moerk's essay on current film posters (Not Just Another Half-Dozen Pretty, Floating Faces) examines recent deviations from the contractually mandated convention of celebrity portraiture. By way of example, Moerk illustrates this not-entirely-new phenomenon with the poster for a new horror film, Hostel, that features an image of a surgical clamp by the photographer Mark Kessell. (The even creepier German poster can be found here.) The photographer clearly describes a detached relationship to the use of his image on the poster (reproduced along with the article) which he, evidently, did not design: in fact, a few pages later there's an ad for the very same movie using the same logotype minus Kessell's clamp image. Hostel's poster designer is not consulted, but various heads of marketing for movie studios are available for comment (even an independent producer is quoted by the author) and all of them conflate the idea of conceptually-driven movie posters with fine art. The word design, in fact, never actually appears in this essay on poster design: Andrzej Pagowski's poster for the 1968 Polish release of Rosemary's Baby — a true masterpiece of this genre — is, for example, labeled as art rather than the truly stunning piece of illustration design that it is. Pagowski is, infact, nowhere credited as the designer of this poster: and once again, design history is mangled in the service of inflated Hollywood egos eager to lay claim to a higher rung of ill-perceived artistic achievement.

As a resident of Los Angeles, none of this is news to me. "The industry," as it is commonly known, does not, in general, respect the work of designers: such work is seen as instrumental in pursuit of a larger end product that is ultimately controlled by producers. (Read backers.) Thus, it has come to be a fact of life that the dignity of authorship (and all that it implies) is not afforded to those working behind the scenes — those anonymous visionaries whose names appear, in Hollywood contract parlance, below the line. Is it too much to hope that The New York Times, in covering such topics — with the skilled objectivity we have come to expect from the "newspaper of record" — might adopt a more articulate, informed, and independent stance when reviewing the work of designers connected with this medium? Designers deserve better, and so do the movies they help make possible. As for those innocent fonts, visual markers of cultural history that they can, and should be — perhaps the time has come to start a Typographic War Crimes Tribunal. Or at the very least: a witness protection program for Helvetica.

Posted in: Graphic Design, History, Media

Comments [39]

First Jayson Blair, then Judith Miller, now further evidence of loose editorial oversight in the culture pages of the Old Grey Lady. The blogosphere proves its worth.
Bernard Pez

The CBS Eye does appear in Good Night, and Good Luck, although, I fear, inaccurately as well.

I was one of the "critics" who was cited in the Times piece, along with Scott Stowell and the truly obsessive Mark Simonson. In between phone conversations with reporter Peter Edidin — who was smart and a pleasure to talk to — I ran upstairs to find my copy of The Visual Art of William Golden.

When shown in the film (you can see images in the Gallery section of the movie's website; real shame about the Neutraface), Bill Golden's Eye appears with only "CBS" in its center (in a font very much like Helvetica, although harder to say). It looks as though the common use of the logo in the 50s was with a big condensed CBS and TELEVISION NETWORK centered beneath it. The plain CBS version seems to have been a 60s creation.

Even as I type this, however, I'm very conscious of how nerdy I seem: hell, how nerdy I actually am. And this is surely the subtext of most of the articles that appear in the general media about our profession: wow, can you believe there are people out there who actually do this for a living?

For what it's worth, I actually feel Lorraine is too harsh on the people who made the choices for Good Night, and Good Luck. The cinematography is stunning, and the art direction and set decoration are gorgeous. Using period graphic design might have been more accurate, but the movie's image is so stylish it's hard to argue with. The slick fantasy is better than the gritty reality ever could have been — which is what Hollywood's all about, right?
Michael Bierut

It's not so much 'the industry' as 'the director' who deserves the ire.
Last year I had some inside knowledge of the wrangle between the publicity department working on the poster for 'B**** and P********' and the director, who spent an awful lot of time (I am told) working on the film credits and title sequence but none at all on the poster. Consequently neither matched the other - the poster designers had to (as indeed they often do) guess the visual look of the film without the director's input.

From an 'artistic' point of view it is understandable that the director focuses on the titles as an integral part of the film (the BBC are showing 'Catch Me If You Can' tonight which springs to mind as a particularly good example) but it leads to serious mismatches between the first bit of publicity that a potential viewer will see, and the screen image that comes up when the lights go down.

I remember as a child going to see Raiders of the Lost Ark and spotting an incongruity between the film's formal and classic opening sequence and the posters' rip-roaring action-adventure comic strip approach that, when Temple of Doom corrected it a few years later, seemed all the more jarring.

As for the difference between ads, well again blame the fact that ads are twopenny-halfpenny jobs that are put together to fit odd sizes and farmed out to different agencies without access to tightly controlled artwork and once the inital burst has subsided merely serve to remind people about the title, not retell the story they've already received from the other publicity.

It's not the producers' lack of respect for designers, it's a) a more sobering fact of life that design does exactly what you're criticising producers for expecting it to, sell cinema tickets, not change people's lives and b) it's more likely down to the hierarchy of design and the egos that put titles designers several steps up from (shudder) mere poster designers.

As someone who at one point couldn't watch a film's credits without caring about the typeface, and still can't walk into a bathroom withut spotting the logo on the taps and remembering the pain associated with its design, I sympathise. However, thinking back to that first viewing of Temple of Doom I remember it being spoiled by my friend who took great delight in pointing out the matte lines on the special effects and completely missed the point: it was actually a very enjoyable film ;-)
Jonathan Baldwin

I believe Lorraine's objection is that it is precisely because the film is so spot-on accurate in its recreation of the visual gestalt of 1950s that the errant typography is so noticeable.
Yours in compassionate nerdiness,
Jessica Helfand

Mark Simonson has been contacted by the (still unnamed) art director of GDAGL.

She pointed out that Helvetica was not used in the film, contrary to what was claimed in the article. She said, rather, that the sign shown in the example frame was set in Akzidenz Grotesk, a face which predated (and in fact was the basis for) Helvetica, and that this choice was based on extensive research of CBS's graphic design during the period depicted in the film.

I admit had considered that as a possibility too. But those endings on the C and S look awfully horizontal to me (in Akzidenz they'd be slightly diagonal). I admit it's hard to tell in the still photograph. This whole affair is starting to remind me of another CBS News typographic cause celebre: the Times Roman used in George W. Bush's National Guard documents.
Michael Bierut

As much as I value accuracy in films such as "Good Night and Good Luck," I have to agree with what I believe to be the gist of Jonathan Baldwin's parting statement above: that the end result should be an enjoyable movie. Having had a number of films (LOtR, anybody?) almost ruined by the eternal nitpicking of the purists in the seats adjacent to mine ("...that isn't how it happened in the book...") I have decided that a certain amount of disbelief is to be expected when dealing with the entertainment industry.

This was, after all, a movie, not a documentary. Historical accuracy is great, but I'm going to guess that the bulk of folks who saw the film did so to be entertained. I can forgive an unfortunate choice in type on a wall if the rest of the film works.

That's just me. Still, I nit pick about the pain of reading hardcover books compared to the joy of trade paperbacks -- even to the point where I may not read a book if it's not available as a trade paperback -- so I don't claim to be void of nerdiness when it comes to entertainment. I guess we all choose our nits.

I know, this isn't entirely on topic, but the subject was brought up so...
Erik Ratcliffe

Here's a straight look at the type on the wall. The wider 'C' with angled terminals appears to be from Akzidenz Grotesk. More here.
Stephen Coles

As one of the "militant typography fans" quoted in the Times piece yesterday, I have to point out that when I was questioned about Good Night, and Good Luck, I said that I had no problems with its use of typography in its sets and so on. That Helvetica or Akzidenz or Standard (which I suspect the real CBS type would have been) looks--and more importantly feels--right.

Like Erik above, I think that the experience of a well-crafted film as a whole comes first, despite my being distracted by typographical anachronisms. For me Clooney's (really excellent) film falls into the same category as the Coen Brothers' work--there may be some design details that aren't exactly right, but someone took the time to do some research and make intentional choices.

Now about that Optima I noticed in King Kong....
Scott Stowell

Looks like Stephen Coles has busted me. I stand corrected, and hereby apologize publicly to GNAGL's art director.

On the other hand, if it turns out that was Akzidenz on the pressure gauges in Titanic, I'm just going to drown myself.
Michael Bierut

The art director, Christa Munro, will be happy to hear that she has been cleared. I honestly couldn't tell from the photo that ran in the NYT and didn't have anything but he-said-she-said to go on, not having seen the movie yet.
Mark Simonson

Hmm...we saw the article in the paper yesterday and it spawned a good if brief conversation about the jarringness of many filmic aspects to those that know more about what things really are (computer interfaces being misused is a classic one); and of course how the Internet seems to have become a perfect home for that type of dissection.

If Lorraine is being dryly witty with comments like "It's a vexing start to the new year — a harbinger, I fear, of even more typographic doom" perhaps this medium is not sufficiently rich to convey the tone. Typographic conventions like smilies, though no doubt horrifying to type-snobs, are invented for a reason -- to enhance otherwise impoverished media. In other words, I find that statement ridiculous and hope to detect sarcasm, but now I'm further burdened in reading the rest of the piece to try to find the sarcasm or the raging insanity. I find not much of either, and so I'm mostly just confused.

Since the article in question accuses (in this case type-)nerds of being too intense about this stuff, it's ironic that I'm struck by a too-intense turn of phrase that I can't easily make sense of.

I'm sure most will roll their eyes at my thickness and consider me the dolt who doesn't understand what is obviously sarcasm, but I'll stick with my point; the creator of the message has primary responsibility to be understood.

So, color me confused, Lorriane - do you really seriously use the word "doomed" in the context of type (especially while reading the rest of the paper) or is that your sense of humor?
Steve Portigal

To Mr. Portigal: Mr. Pez, in his comments above, got it right: it's a scandal the way that the New York Times always leaves out the name of the graphic designer, but it's not at the top of their list. I thought about sending this to their Public Editor, but he's busy with that other little thing about the Times taking a year to release the news about the Bush administration spying domestically without warrants.

On the type on the wall behind George Clooney: the news that it may be Akzidenz doesn't really ameliorate the situation. In The Visual Craft of William Golden the sans serif fonts used for CBS consist largely of Franklin Gothic No. 2, and both condensed and expanded versions of a variety of sans serif fonts. I'm actually not such a type head that I can recognize those particular fonts on demand, but the CBS identity as a whole is rather unmistakable. It required no invention or guesswork on the part of the art director of GNAGL to get it right—all Ms. Munro had to do was look it up. But that would have depended upon the recognition, based on knowledge (of graphic design history) that there was something there of significance, worth reproducing properly.

But of course it's what Hollywood does all the time: you only have to check out Raquel Welch's shredded marmot mini-toga in One Million Years B.C. to see the costume historian's version of this complaint.
Lorraine Wild

check out Raquel Welch's shredded marmot mini-toga

Okay. If I have to then I will, but only because you insist. I really don't know what hot cave women wore 1,002,000 years ago. (I am reasonably certain that Ugg boots were a later invention.) Maybe I'll Google "leather bikinis" and report back on it. Anything to advance design history.
Gunnar Swanson

The image that Stephen Coles uses as exonerating evidence clearly points to the type being guilty as Helvetica. (Especially when viewed in the hi-res press gallery on the Warner Independent site which is clearer than the one SC links.)

Not only the width but the roundness of the C, the width of the W, the near-even legnth of the arms in the E, and it is quite obvious that the terminals on the C and BOTH S forms are very much horizontal.

MB - You nailed it when it first caught your eye. With your tutelage at Vignelli, you can not only spot Helvetica a mile away but at 24 fps as well. That's why I am surprised you felt compelled to accept that you were mistaken.

By the way, having not yet seen the film, I am specifically talking about the identification of a typeface. Rarely, mind you, has typographic anachronism caused me to get up and storm out of a theater.

Re: Michael Berui's thought: The slick fantasy is better than the gritty reality ever could have been — which is what Hollywood's all about, right? . Michael, I think you and several of the others on this post should not be guilty nerds. Part, not all, of the pleasure of a great movie, is its obsession, whether it be in the tightness of the script, the crispness of the editing, the carry through of the vision of the director, or even the clarity and accuracy of the design.

Movies are made by multiple people each working towards a singular goal. While it is true that a movie can still be good if it does not hang together in every aspect and one can be entertained, and being entertained is part of the point, greatness always eludes the sloppy and the non-obsessed, even in the movies.

There is a reason all those credits are at the end of the film and all too often in conversations about movies, casual or in print, the design credit is not given where design credit is due, or, in this case, where credit is questioned.

Why should an article that is ostensibly about design, not be interested in the names of the designers? I do not think it is nerdy to be interested in this type of fact. We know that the new a.t.&t globe was not designed by the head of SBC just as surely as we know George Clooney did not literally craft the art direction of his movie.

The movie was good, but it could have been even better if the designer had been even better and that was the designer/art directors job - to create a feeling/experience/sensation that you are there, that reality is gritty and fanciful at the same time. Why not take even greater pleasure when the visual facts hang together? The joy of film is very much about the details as well as the big picture. New York Times writers writing about film and poster design can be take the time to actually figure out who is doing the design - for our filmic design pleasure and, in this case, filmic design pain.
Bernard Pez

Here's one that, I think, is uncontroversial It is from early last year though.
Noel Welsh

Noel - thanks for that link showing the television with "ARIAL" written in helvetica - super stuff.

I've enjoyed this thread but I'm not sure why some people think we should experience "typographic doom" this year.

From here in the UK, typography and the future of typography is looking good. Last year Fontsmith won a D&AD Gold award for brand identity for the new typeface designed for the national UK television station "Channel 4".

The BBC are using Helvetica (thin) for a lot of their brand identity and not just sticking to Gill Sans. It's likely the BBC ID will be redesigned soon so there is hope that a more bold and modern typographic style may be employed; and they may tidy-up the bbc website too.

Basically, what I'm saying is everyday almost the whole population of the UK is exposed to original typography on their TV screens.

I think hollywood movies would probably be a pretty bad choice to use as a catalyst for improving the publics awareness of typography.

But I think it's great to spot these "errors" and expose them for what they are.
James Waite

I need to toss my hat in the camp that believes Christa Munro has in fact not been cleared. She is either referring to another piece of signage featured elsewhere or perhaps printed documents that appear in the film - who knows. Or she is just mistaken. That pictured sign cannot be AG, and is likely Helvetica with perhaps some modification or distortion that crept in intentionally or not during construction or design.

In any case, the film didn't have a tremendous budget from what I understand, and perhaps they had to make do with some compromise (using existing props and materials?). As somebody else commented, the type still 'felt' right in the context of the production design (certainly to 99.9 percent of the audience it did). I didn't think to realize it was historically inaccurate as I enjoyed the movie.

On a similar note, a fellow movie-goer and I both noticed and commented on how Spielberg's Munich appears to have made a major period-design mistake. There is a Queen's pier railing prominently featured in the end scene of the film that is so far off the mark from the otherwise great and (seemingly) authentic 70's production design throughout the rest of the film. The railing looks like something from the 90's, though I can't be sure really.
Andrew Kueneman


I forgot to mention that in the same 'railing' scene, Spielberg digitally modified the Manhattan skyline, tastefully adding back the WTC towers.
Andrew Kueneman

I attended a seminar by Philip Meggs in Denver in the late 90s. Someone on his panel discussed an incident: That the poster proposed by a designer for the movie Air Force One (I think) with Harrison Ford was vetoed by the actor and instead they went with a poster with Mr. Ford's face prominently featured on it (read Harrison's face was the focal point).

I've never met Mr. Ford, I'm sure he doesn't know I exist either. So who am I? The movie was fun to watch though as I recall.


Joe Moran
Joe Moran

OK. Call it Grotesque if you will....but
Ms Munro's accident is surely not by Akzidenz.

(concurring w/ Andrew: Helvitica — not AG.)
felix sockwell

I am amazed that most everyone on this thread is getting a wedgie over the type. Meanwhile, that poor Polish designer didn't get his name in the article and the NYT's didn't feel like interviewing, outing, or even identifying the art director of GNGL. Isn't this the real outrage here (not whether you have been entertained) - bad reporting and bad history all rolled into one? Indeed thou hast no sense of doom for thy profession?

Why not more true design outrage rather than typographic nitpicking. The public, and especially designers, will always lose interest in design when design writing and reportage in our major newspapers is at a level that would cause most high-school journalism teachers to consider at best a C for effort (and an F for content).
Bernard Pez

The photographer clearly describes a detached relationship to the use of his image on the poster (reproduced along with the article) which he, evidently, did not design: in fact, a few pages later there's an ad for the very same movie using the same logotype minus Kessell's clamp image.

Interesting: in the article it says that Kesell's image "appears in theaters and widespread promotions. (Billboards for 'Hostel' rely on a more conventional image of a masked tormentor with a chainsaw, which, a Lionsgate spokeswoman [sic] explained, translated more easily to the horizontal format.)"

This "more conventional image" is the one that Lorraine spotted a few pages later in the Times... and it's in a vertical, not horizontal, format. It would seem that neither the article's author nor the woman from Lionsgate have their facts straight, and to echo Lorraine and Bernard, where are the designers of the poster, billboard and sundry ads?

The joy of film is very much about the details as well as the big picture.

They say that god -- or the devil -- is in the details, don't they? And that part of a film's success is in our ability to willingly suspend our disbelief. The typographic errors dicussed here are the equivalent of, say, someone wearing a wristwatch in a movie set in the Middle Ages -- our suspension of disbelief is shot to hell. Type errors may not be noticeable to everyone, but they are certainly irksome to those who are aware of such things.
Ricardo Cordoba

my god and i thought rand did that logo this whole time
bianca barattini

The typographic errors dicussed here are the equivalent of, say, someone wearing a wristwatch in a movie set in the Middle Ages -- our suspension of disbelief is shot to hell.

As much as I appreciate nerdy conversations, this whole thing is pretty ridiculous.

If a group of experts about every field of study were put together in a room to critique this film, thousands of mistakes would be found. The same goes for any other film ever created. I'm sure somewhere across the Internet, there are a group of 50's-era television editing console experts chatting about how the historically inaccurate editing bays featured in the film made them outraged and caused their suspension of disbelief to be shot to hell.

The world is full of things that are designed poorly that have real, negative effects on the lives of actual people. This is not one of them.
Ryan Nee

Mr. Nee gets it wrong with regard to the making of films. All of those credits at the end of films are the names of specialists who are supposedly experts in their particular creative field. They are not hired to make mistakes even if they are hired to make entertainment. Most important, ignorence is a good justification for a mistake only once, the first time, after that it is just ignorence, or worse amnesia. Regardless, there must be just a bit of the nerd in Mr. Nee or else he would not be reading, much less responding to a design blog, when there are so many other pressing problems in the world more worthy of his attention.
Bernard Pez

While a typophile myself, I am also a fan of entertainment. Mr. Nee is spot on with his comments. Even though this is a film made by a team of people who purportedly represent the best in their field, a 20+ comment rant on the eccentricities of Helvetica over Akzidenz or if the Art Director or the NYT Reporter should have their head guillotined is a rather pathetic example of how human nature is dissarmingly apathetic.

Consider this entirely hypothetical situation: a low-socioeconomic-status, low-income resident of New York has come into the Public Library to search the book catalog, or find the status of a claim made. Because this person is of low-income (perhaps due to an imbalance in the wealth distribution) they are using public computers to do their research. Someone on the computer before them has left this site open, with this particular comment thread. Imagine this individual's disgust or dismay. What this individual must be thinking should be of concern to how our profession is projected: "who are these rich snobs to think that a single detail in a film should cause an Art Director's defamation" or perhaps "go*da*n these upper-class yuppies arguing about nothin, while my brothers and sisters are struggling to make ends meet".

Let me conclude by paraphrasing Milton Glaser - a good designer is a good citizen. Before we worry about any sort of anacrhonism, we should consider how our professional actions affect the world around us.

Thanks for listening.
Josh Hemsath

I appreciate the idealism, but is the implication that until that day when global poverty has been eradicated and universal human rights have been secured, no one dares distract themselves debating the differences between two almost identical sans serif typefaces?

Despite the seriousness with which many of the participants attack the subject, it's just for fun, Josh. Idealists can still have fun.
Michael Bierut

Mr. Bierut-

I realize that I may come across as a naïve idealist design student, but, I was more or less reacting (and I do still stand by my words) to the general tone of the comment thread. As a bystander, it felt as though the commenters were lambasting the Art Director/Props Master of GAGL for quite potentially, a lazy mistake (or just an economical choice). I was also reacting to the two comments prior to mine: Mr Nee's - "The world is full of things that are designed poorly that have real, negative effects on the lives of actual people. This is not one of them." And ultimately, Mr. Pez's "Mr. Nee gets it wrong with regard to the making of films. All of those credits at the end of films are the names of specialists who are supposedly experts in their particular creative field. They are not hired to make mistakes even if they are hired to make entertainment."

I am glad to see that my comment wasn't deleted, as I feared it may have been. Thank you!

So again, Mr. Bierut, while I'm not writing a call to action, so much, as just a basic reality check before the design profession gets their collective head so far up its posterior, we keep in sight the outside world.

P.S. Saw your name in a book at Barnes and Noble today. You're a design rockstar!
Josh Hemsath

Josh Hamsath's pathos-filled fantasy of a scene in the public library certainly struck a chord with me. I happened to have spent hundreds of pathos-filled hours myself in the New York Public library, as a low-wage earning young designer, desperately looking for information on graphic design history at a time when you couldn't just find it waiting for you on the shelves at Barnes and Noble. (In fact, it's probably there that I first encountered the work of William Golden and his colleagues at CBS). Now that heritage is so much easier to find, and obviously take for granted. The tone of this post and much of the conversation following it has been lighthearted—as is appropriate to the scale of the complaint—but underneath sits the issue of graphic design literacy. (Maybe not in font identification, but certainly in identifying the creators of designed artifacts). And if one cannot accept that that has some relevance in our culture, then one should not be surprised that design—and the power it could have to be address all sorts of problems that are larger than the tiny issues discussed here—continues to be misunderstood, underrated, or ignored.
Lorraine Wild

Lorraine, I agree completely with you, and I sheepishly admit that perhaps a sense of heritage and pride is what needs to be vested in to both our profession and our culture. I also acknowledge that the majority of this discussion has been quite lighthearted, and caused solely by this group's collective passion for their profession, and my ignorance of that is (to quote myself) "alarmingly pathethic."

So for now, I'll step down from my tiny soapbox. But heed this moral of story: give a boy a keyboard (namely me) and he'll rant for hours.

I do hope that Mr. Bierut and Ms. Wild, will accept my most humble apologies for my loud ignorance (and adjective-riddled posts).
Josh Hemsath

If you want to see a real crime, as opposed to a misdemeanor, check out this gem from "Meet the Fockers" spotted a while back by Matt Soar. Thanks to (who else) Mark Simonson for the link.
Michael Bierut

And if one cannot accept that that has some relevance in our culture, then one should not be surprised that design—and the power it could have to be address all sorts of problems that are larger than the tiny issues discussed here—continues to be misunderstood, underrated, or ignored.

I agree Lorraine, but isn't it possible that graphic designers get ignored because we go on and on about kerning, dumb quotes vs. smart quotes, and minute differences between typefaces rather than anything that people actually care about? These things are important, definitely, but for the most part the public does not need to know about them. We can talk about these kind of things in a lighthearted manner, like in Michael's great Design for the Real World segment about this very topic, but I think we need to be careful not to talk so much that people aren't listening when we do things that that might really interest them.

When tiny issues like this are (jokingly?) filed under Typographic Doom, I start to realize why nobody values us as designers.
Ryan Nee

Either I'm a really bad writer, or the black background tamps down the irony, but "doom" was meant to be a bit of humorous rhetorical overstatement. Should have stuck with the much more straightforward "inanity!"
Lorraine Wild

When other technical people spot bloopers, they share them and laugh. Movies are full of these 'reality typos' because, well, come on! Movies are made mostly of duct tape! And when they correct GNAGL digitally for the DVD release, you probably won't even buy or rent it. What's WITH this place?

Affectionately, etc.,

Greetings Design Observers.

Regarding the introduction of Golden's identity program at CBS, there's evidence that it wasn't necessarily in place at the time depicted in the film. For example, see this photo of the See It Now set. Note the logo on the camera (which may have been designed by William Lescaze--gotta look that up).

There are other examples of non-standard type use at CBS News at the time. If anyone's interested I can post a few.

p.s. i've yet to see the film.

Jenny Tobias

Bill Golden designed the CBS eye in 1951. It's featured in the film, although in a version that I've been told was introduced for the 1960 Presidential conventions. The version that was most common in the fifties is shown here.

Michael Bierut

I like your blog. It is a very interesting one. Make Make Destroy - that is all that Gnome is capable of: http://www.usatoday.com/ , Red, Lazy, Red nothing comparative to International Full Cosmos Loose or not , when Cards Loose Slot Destroy Opponents can Percieve Stake
Ian Clark


As an echo to Lorraine's post, here is an interesting link:
Anachronism we 'love' thee!
Catherine Guiral

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