The Typography of Science Fiction Films

From 2001: A Space Odyssey to Blade Runner, Dave Addey’s new book, Typeset in the Future examines the typography and design that filmmakers have used to lend a believability to visions of the future.

In film, there is a shorthand for the future, the typeface Eurostile Bold Extended. It appears on the interface screens of the time-traveling Delorean in Back to the Future (1985), and in the logo of Lunar Industries at the lonely lunar station in Moon (2009). It adorns the exterior of the USS Enterprise starship in the Star Trek franchise, and the Federal Colonies intergalactic megacorporation branding in Total Recall (1990). It gives both the Battlestar Galactica series title and the credits of District 9 (2009) an ultramodern tone.

As blogger and designer Dave Addey explains in his new book Typeset in the Future, out now from Abrams, he first noticed the ubiquity of the typeface in 2013. “No matter where I looked, or what I watched, there was Eurostile Bold Extended — the most sci-fi of all typefaces — staring back at me,” he writes. “It became an obsession.” Soon he found its genesis: Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), in which it makes frequent appearances, from the flight deck of the Orion spaceplane to HAL 9000’s flat-screen displays.

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