Stanley’s favourite typeface
I know I am more than a few weeks late, but this little Twitter exchange between typographer Matthew Butterick and film director Brad Bird reminded me of a Jon Ronson article where he was given access to the Stanley Kubrick archive. Specifically the passage below…
I take a break from the boxes to wander over to Tony’s office. As I walk in, I notice something pinned to his letterbox. “POSTMAN,” it reads. “Please put all mail in the white box under the colonnade across the courtyard to your right.”
It is not a remarkable note except for one thing. The typeface Tony used to print it is exactly the same typeface Kubrick used for the posters and title sequences of Eyes Wide Shut and 2001. “It’s Futura Extra Bold,” explains Tony. “It was Stanley’s favourite typeface. It’s sans serif. He liked Helvetica and Univers, too. Clean and elegant.”
“Is this the kind of thing you and Kubrick used to discuss?” I ask.
“God, yes,” says Tony. “Sometimes late into the night. I was always trying to persuade him to turn away from them. But he was wedded to his sans serifs.”
Tony goes to his bookshelf and brings down a number of volumes full of examples of typefaces, the kind of volumes he and Kubrick used to study, and he shows them to me. “I did once get him to admit the beauty of Bembo,” he adds, “a serif.”
Citizen Kubrick by Jon Ronson