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Typeface Choices in Movies Matter (Even if the text is at the bottom of the screen)

WARNING: This post discusses a design choice made in Avengers: Infinity War. The choice I’m writing about does NOT contain spoilers, and I will not be discussing any major plot points of the movie (or at least any that haven’t already been made known through press releases and interviews).

I deem a movie great if, when watching, I am able to put myself into the world. I’ll think about what I would do in the situation or how events would go differently if I were part of the story. If the movie makes me ask these questions and really think about them, I’m hooked. For the most part, Avengers: Infinity War accomplished this. There was one aspect, however, that took me out of the story and instead had me questioning the design choice. This is not the kind of thinking I want to be doing during a movie. The movie takes place in many different locations. In order to keep track of where the characters are, the name of wherever the scene is taking place appears at the bottom of the screen. I found this to be extremely helpful in keeping along with the story. However, the typeface they used did not sit well with me. Avengers is a superhero movie. It’s an action movie, and it’s very modern. The typeface they chose was tall and thin with serifs and felt like it belonged in a movie about ancient Rome. Had the movie solely been about Thor, the Asgardian God of Thunder, the choice would have fit much better; however, this movie is set in a variety of places with many characters, most of whom are from this century. The costumes, tech, and most of the language is very modern, as is the typeface used for the movie’s logo. The use of a classic serif jars with the rest of the visuals.

This may seem like something rather silly to be upset about, but in a movie where each visual choice seems to be carefully made to form a cohesive story, it makes me wonder why they failed in this aspect. It also drives home the point that design really does matter in any aspect in which it is used, and that design choices need to be carefully thought over, even if it’s just text at the bottom of the screen in a movie.

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