Airtype

A Zeppelin NT has been seen above San Francisco Bay, showing tourists the sights from above. The airship is 75m (246ft) long and 17m (64ft) high. The logo Airship Venture is set in ITC Officina Bold and must be about 5m (16ft) high und 32m (106ft) long.zeppelin
airship_typoWhile I am happy to see my typeface that large in the sky above, it feels strange as well. After all, when Officina was designed in the late 80s, it was meant to be used in correspondence, to replace typewriter type. It subsequently shares quite a few of those characteristics. And too bad that licenses are not paid by size.

9 comments

  1. Looks like they’re using something along the lines of American Typewriter (or it could be Clarendon, in which case my point is useless) as well, sticking with the theme I suppose.

  2. eric: “….it was meant to be used in correspondence, to replace typewriter type”

    kvond: what does it mean for you to see your typeface used for purposes it was not at all designed? Is it inconcordant? liberating? Can it be that your type has found a new suitable environment, or does one feel that someone is just not being sensitive to the inherent characteristics of the design?

  3. when you publish a typeface, you put it out there. Anybody can use it. And as long as they buy a license, I don’t care. If they steal it (which 90% of the people do), they should make it look good. Unfortunately, the good designers tend to be the honest ones. So I see a lot of my type being used badly and illegally. But that is the name of the game. If I didn’t accept it, I would need to get out of it.

    Yes, Marcus, getting people to spell my name right has always been an issue.
    ERIK – how difficult can that be? And how much room for mistakes is there?

  4. Erik,

    (Apologies: consider the respelling a transliteration of its sound between cultures, just as a spelling can be expressed in a variety of typefaces.)

    Kind of you to answer my question, but I suppose I didn’t ask it closely enough. I was not asking whether you accept it or not, but whether you find a recontexualized use as liberating or inconcordant. Is it merely a difficulty?

    You see Zeppelin NT used in a way it was never imagined to be (interestingly, the name you gave to the typeface seems to have driven its choice). Does this sometimes make your recognize new possibilities for the typeface, see it in a way you never had, or…does it simply strike you as abuse.

  5. The typeface is called ITC Officina Sans. Where do you get the other name from?
    I usually find it enriching to see other people use my typefaces. They may have been intended for a specific purpose but by definition, every text face has to be universal. More often than not, other designers find uses that I had not envisaged. And those often look great.

  6. ES: “They may have been intended for a specific purpose but by definition, every text face has to be universal.”

    Kvond: I like that very much. This means for you that a typetext has to have the potential to pervade every environment? What does it mean,if you don’t mind me asking, for a texttext to be universal? The Roman Alphabet is universal in the sense that you have to use it if you are going to be writing English in any circumstance, but in what sense is a typetext universal? Is it that typetext has achieved a certain universality of medium applicaiton? Or, to put it another way, if a typetext is meant for a specific purpose (or context), do you see a certain universality to this potential, in our culture? Clearly there are some typetexts that if you found them used like Helvetica you would think that the world had taken a curious, if not disasterous, aesthetic turn.

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