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He kissed me, he kissed me. Yecch.
January 30, 2008 12:12 PM   Subscribe

The story behind Woody Allen's signature typeface (with screengrabs from each film). Via.

Bonus: 11 minutes from the opening of Annie Hall redone with Getty Stock Video by Aleksandra Domanovic
posted by growabrain (42 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Why does the author keep writing Woody Allen as W O O D Y A L L E N?
posted by mrnutty at 12:16 PM on January 30, 2008


W O O D Y A L L E N I S A T Y P I S T .
posted by blue_beetle at 12:20 PM on January 30, 2008


Woody Allen is a brand name.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:23 PM on January 30, 2008


Woody Allen™
posted by fleetmouse at 12:35 PM on January 30, 2008


(For God's sake, Alvy, even Freud talked about a latency period!)

I like the title brand. It is simple and to the point. It reminds me of silent films from certain companies which, while having more ornate title cards, carried the same standard across every film. I enjoy creative opening credits too, but I like the way Woody understates the beginnings of his films this way.
posted by Spatch at 12:36 PM on January 30, 2008


Please list three words you associate with the Woody Allen™ brand:
sick, talentless, undying
posted by milarepa at 12:37 PM on January 30, 2008


I enjoyed the video linked from the first footnote: Trajan is the Movie Font. Who says fonts aren't a source of mirth?
posted by Kattullus at 12:38 PM on January 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


They typeface captures Woody Allen's overall aspirations more than his actuality. Neat piece.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:45 PM on January 30, 2008


Yeah, Kattullus, that was great. Also, from the same blog, the "helvetica™ brand goat's milk + salt body scrub" confused the hell outta me.
posted by pyrex at 12:48 PM on January 30, 2008


I enjoyed the video linked from the first footnote: Trajan is the Movie Font. Who says fonts aren't a source of mirth?
posted by Kattullus at 3:38 PM on January 30


I know I'm going to get smashed for this, but I happen to hate Helvetica. Nothing says "Restroom" like Helvetica.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:48 PM on January 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Every time I feel bad about being a spotty, sci-fi reading, D&D playing, computer programming, obsessive nerd, I remember that I'm not a typography nerd, and I feel slightly better.
posted by boo_radley at 12:50 PM on January 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


I feel the same way, but switch "typography nerd" with "spotty, sci-fi reading, D&D playing, computer programming, obsessive nerd."
posted by tepidmonkey at 12:52 PM on January 30, 2008 [12 favorites]


Maybe he does it this way because they're just movie titles and it's just a font. What is the big deal? Less is more.
posted by Jay Reimenschneider at 12:57 PM on January 30, 2008


I know I'm showing my geekiness here, but I am almost certain that Sleeper and Love and Death use the same font.
posted by Bromius at 1:01 PM on January 30, 2008


boo_radley, tepidmonkey, let's not focus on what divides us. At least we can all agree that we're glad we're not furries.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:15 PM on January 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


Interestingly, the trailer for Cassandra's Dream (his latest film - saw it a couple of weeks ago and thought it was decent) does not use the font. For those truly interested, it can be seen here at 2 minutes in.
posted by Shebear at 1:19 PM on January 30, 2008


At least we can all agree that we're glad we're not furries.
Flagged as very hurtful.
posted by XQUZMYFUR at 1:19 PM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


typography nerds make more money, boo_radley. and we dress better. nyah!
posted by luriete at 1:25 PM on January 30, 2008


Every time I feel bad about being a spotty, sci-fi reading, D&D playing, computer programming, obsessive nerd, I remember that I'm not Woody Allen and I feel slightly better.

God knows how many years of therapy and he shags his step-daughter. Well that was money well spent.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:28 PM on January 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


What is the big deal? Less is more.

Actually, the "less is more" adage is all about obsessive attention to detail. That's the whole point.
posted by signal at 1:32 PM on January 30, 2008


Horace Rumpole: Uniting Metafilter.
posted by boo_radley at 1:33 PM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hey, Cassandra's Dream doesn't look half-bad. I might go see it. I mean, the ol' goat can still hack it, right? I mean, it wasn't that long ago that Sweet and Lowdown came out, which is definitely one of his best movies (my personal top 3 would be Annie Hall, Radio Days and Sweet and Lowdown). Maybe the Windsor was wearing him down and he needed to get out from under it.
posted by Kattullus at 1:35 PM on January 30, 2008


Does anyone have one of these with "Typography Nerds" included? Or are they somewhere near the bottom?
posted by blue_beetle at 1:39 PM on January 30, 2008


God knows how many years of therapy and he shags his step-daughter. Well that was money well spent.

She's not his step-daughter, she's his ex-wife's adult adopted daughter. So it's not quite the Greek tragedy it seems. (The real controversy lies in the allegations of misconduct with Sun-Yi's younger brother.)

Nothing says "Restroom" like Helvetica.

Very true. But it's only the mid-weight face that's so crummy. The Bold and Light versions are still quite usable IMO.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:42 PM on January 30, 2008


I enjoy typography, AND computers, AND D&D, AND in my time I've LARPed!

HA! I WIN?!

Thanks for the link. This and the Trajan blog and the recent wonderful Helvetica movie have me in font heaven.

Oh god I've built models too.
posted by cavalier at 1:44 PM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


The thing about typography nerds, blue_beetle is that they aren't necessarily geeks. A typography nerd can be a geek, but it isn't a given. A typography nerd could belong to any category of the Geek Hierarchy but having an interest in fonts isn't a specifically geeky attribute (unlike, say, knowing the name of the Vulcan mating ritual on Star Trek)
posted by Kattullus at 1:45 PM on January 30, 2008


Interestingly, the trailer for Cassandra's Dream (his latest film - saw it a couple of weeks ago and thought it was decent) does not use the font. For those truly interested, it can be seen here at 2 minutes in.

Yeah but that's only the trailer. The actual titles may very well still be in his signature font. I thought I remember the trailer for Match Point having different titles too and low and behold it does. Ditto for Scoop's trailer which strangely features 3D flying Tarot Card graphics.
posted by ChestnutMonkey at 1:50 PM on January 30, 2008


Worth nothing that trailers are often produced by third party/studio groups and not by the filmmaker themselves. Not that I'd expect Mr. Allen to have this explicit in his contract... but hey, it very well may be done without his input.
posted by cavalier at 1:53 PM on January 30, 2008


Maybe he does it this way because they're just movie titles and it's just a font. What is the big deal? Less is more.

Oh yeah, totally, because obsessive directors never bother to think about ho the little details make their image.
posted by piratebowling at 2:15 PM on January 30, 2008


amIwrong, or does the author end this piece with "Truth is, I don’t know..." as he tries to explain it... and, if this is the case, the point of the blog post was to indicate that all of Allen's movie titles had the same font???

I'll leave this to the font nerds as well, doesn't seem earth shattering in terms of info or insight...
posted by HuronBob at 2:17 PM on January 30, 2008


Well, he explains that some guy in a diner told him it was a good typeface, and then Allen used it. I guess that's the whole story.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:41 PM on January 30, 2008


Ed Benguiat: Some guy in a diner
posted by tepidmonkey at 2:43 PM on January 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


unlike, say, knowing the name of the Vulcan mating ritual on Star Trek

Pon far? Oh, crap.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:52 PM on January 30, 2008


The font is like the one Bergman used only a bit more 1970's and crapper. There is a message in there somewhere.
posted by fire&wings at 4:12 PM on January 30, 2008


whenever Helvetica comes up, I'm reminded of this Douglas Coupland quote:
"Helvetica essentially takes any word or phrase and pressure-washes it into sterility. I love it." (from here.)

HuronBob: the author isn't sure whether this was another way to tie the movies into the Woody Allen brand, or whether it was like Kubrick's full-steam-ahead love of a font; without insight from Woody Allen it's unlikely that we will find out.

Sys Rq: Ed Benguiat is sort of a big deal when it comes to type; see his biography at the Linotype website.
posted by heeeraldo at 4:33 PM on January 30, 2008


Katullus, I think he old goat is done and should hang it up. From everything I've heard, Cassandra's Dream sounds lousy. I happen to agree with you 100% about Sweet and Lowdown, but I don't think he's made a worthwhile movie since.
posted by muckster at 4:44 PM on January 30, 2008


"unlike, say, knowing the name of the Vulcan mating ritual on Star Trek"

Pon far? Oh, crap.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:52 PM on January 30 [+] [!]


Pretty sure that's two rs (Pon Farr) but I could be wrong. 2 seconds...

Yup.
posted by ZakDaddy at 5:41 PM on January 30, 2008


muckster: I happen to agree with you 100% about Sweet and Lowdown, but I don't think he's made a worthwhile movie since.

Curse of the Jade Scorpion was charming, at least. I remember people making the case for Scoop, but I never saw it.
posted by Kattullus at 9:17 PM on January 30, 2008


Love the typeface.
Too bad about the movies since about 1982.
posted by cogneuro at 12:11 AM on January 31, 2008


Ed Benguiat is sort of a big deal when it comes to type

Ah, thank you. The story is a million times more interesting knowing that!
posted by Sys Rq at 4:37 PM on January 31, 2008


since about 1982.

Most of his best work came after that. Just sayin'.

(Your favourite Woody Allen movie sucks.)
posted by Sys Rq at 4:42 PM on January 31, 2008


The Woody Allen typography article? Meh.
But, I really dug the Guardian article one of the footnotes linked to, Citizen Kubrick, where the author tells us of the fascinating stuff he found in Kubrick's archive a couple of years after his death.
posted by papafrita at 4:47 PM on January 31, 2008


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