Archive for the ‘Typography’ Category

Fri 11 Jul 2008 8:58 am   //   Posted in: Labeling, Typography

Wal-Mart becomes Walmart

What do you think of the new Walmart logo?

New Wal-Mart logo

This new logo accomplishes the impossible: It makes the old Wal-Mart logo look good!

It already looks dated and generic. People had the same complaint about the new Payless logo in 2006. Our creative director at work compared it to the Parmalat logo, but I think the Parmalat logo is better.

(Image from

Mon 9 Jun 2008 11:52 am   //   Posted in: Typography

Fontly speaking

My friend Jason Fagone has the lead story on Slate today: YouType: The strange allure of making your own fonts. (Fagone was one of our resident font experts at The Daily Collegian in the late 1990s.)

Fri 30 May 2008 8:00 am   //   Posted in: Transit, Typography

Subway signage goes negative

Earlier this week, I was changing trains at the Chambers Street station (which is being renovated) and was shocked to see this brand new sign:

What th’—?!

You occasionally spot a really old MTA sign that has black lettering on white type (I think there are some tucked away in the vast Times Square station), but it’s rare. Practically all New York subway signs have a uniform design, and the type is always white on black. The signs look like this:

White on black subway sign

If you’re unfamiliar with our subway system, you’re probably thinking, “So what?” But these familiar details matter, and when something’s a little off, we want to know why.

Also, these signs are legendary in the design world. The signage scheme was created in 1966 by graphic designer Massimo Vignelli, using the font Akzidenz-Grotesk (a variation of Helvetica introduced to the subway system in 1958). According to Vignelli’s web site, he had originally intended the signs to be white with black lettering, but “To discourage graffiti, the surface was later changed from white to black.”

So… Why the sudden change back? [Update: New theory: White signs indicate temporary changes.]

Tue 6 May 2008 10:00 am   //   Posted in: Movies, Typography

Logo in Iron Man movie is oddly familiar

On Sunday I went and saw this summer’s first mandatory movie, Iron Man. It’s pretty good. The protagonist is the CEO of a defense contractor called Stark Industries. Here’s what his company’s logo looks like:

Seem familiar? It did to me. That’s because it combines elements of the Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman logos.

(Stark logo via Screen Rant, Lockheed and Northrop logos from those companies’ Web sites. And nautrally, I’m not the first person on the Internet to notice this.)

Okay defense contractor people, who among you is building an Iron Man?

Tue 22 Apr 2008 10:23 pm   //   Posted in: Music, Typography

New R.E.M. video uses a cool font

Is there an award for Best Use of Typography in a Music Video? If so, it should go to R.E.M.’s “Hollow Man” video.

Wed 26 Mar 2008 8:00 am   //   Posted in: In the news, Typography

Obama potpourri


– How deliciously crisp is that font on the Obama signs? It’s called Gotham, and it was first commissioned for GQ magazine. Designers Tobias Frere-Jones and Jonathan Hoefler were inspired by the lettering on the Port Authority bus terminal. Here’s a short video about Gotham.

– When Barack Obama gave his “A More Perfect Union” speech a week ago, I decided not to write anything about it. Enough had been said already, plus I was still digesting it. It was a really important speech that set a new standard for how informed, concerned Americans should talk about race relations. But as time passes, it doesn’t seem especially historic. I doubt it will help Obama become president. As we’re seeing, the final leg of the Democratic primary process is more about delegate wrangling than about any serious policy disagreements.

– PDNPulse: President Clinton And Rev. Wright

– The Onion: Black Guy Asks Nation For Change.

(Photo above by the Obama campaign.)