‘Avatar’ and the controversy with the typography of the film

'Avatar' and the controversy with the typography of the film

The newly released trailer for Avatar: the way of waterthe second film of the universe composed by james cameron, has generated good impressions for its staging. An appetizer aimed at promoting one of the most anticipated films of the year. But it was not just a sequence of images and a glimpse of part of the technology that the production will have. A conversation was also generated regarding the Avatar 2 logo. ççç

When it comes to productions that are so closely followed by the media and that have a base of followers attentive to those that may be generated in relation to them, the analysis and study of these proposals reaches a level of detail that may surprise your own and strangers. Avatarreleased in 2009, was one of these objects to scrutinize.

To begin with, it is necessary to locate yourself in the chosen logo to present the first film. At that time, thirteen years ago, it was recognized that the typeface used for that design was Papyrus. The detail surprised locals and strangers, under a premise: Why didn’t a production in which a huge amount of money was invested have a logo with its own typography?

Avatar: the way of water,
the new logo and typography: what changed?

That logo, made with Papyrus, became a kind of common joke. It was understood as an absurdity: the highest-grossing film in history did not have a logo with its own typography. Enough information to make memes and jokes with this idea, both on television and on the networks.

Based on that experience, James Cameron decided to avoid a similar fuss and, to Avatar 2 adjusted a small detail: the production team added Josh Rhoshell, the designer responsible for the new proposal that could be seen in the trailer and the poster of the film. How was this found out? Because the designer himself commented on it on his blog, in a text titled: “Yep, I created the new AVATAR font” (Yes, I created the new font AVATAR).

The first paragraph of this text begins like this:

“Last year, I received one of the craziest calls I have ever received. It was the team Lightstorm EntertainmentJames Cameron’s company, who wanted to know if he could help them put together a font for ‘an upcoming project.’”

Of course, Josh Rhoshell was drawn to it and, at the same time, remembered the background related to the first logo. About this he wrote:

“Unlike a lot of typeface nerds, I think Papyrus is actually a pretty cool font and I have to admit it wasn’t a bad fit for the original Avatar logo, even though it also appears on the merchandise from Shakira and in unbranded tea.”

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The designer’s work was not just a logo. Josh Rhoshell is responsible for all the alphabet used for the production. This includes from the letters on the poster, the logo, to everything related to Avatar: the way of water. James Cameron takes revenge for those criticisms and jokes, and the designer had what is, perhaps, the professional dream of his life.

How was the step by step?

The creative detailed on his blog how a good part of the process in which he was immersed was. Here are the steps:

  1. He cleaned up the outlines of the reference they sent him. As she explained, “so they would look better as a source. I removed the duplicate and unnecessary points and made them bits of the sample were more pronounced so they would look better in typical font sizes.
  2. The next step was to integrate the capital letters in the logo and other samples that were provided. The work was complicated with lowercase. Josh Rhoshell wondered: “Should it be a traditional lowercase? Lowercase letters? Uncial (a medieval-looking mix of upper and lower)? I sketched letters, then scanned and made words out of them“.
  3. Solving the previous step, Rhoshell explained: “we decided on three alphabets: uppercase, small caps and lowercase.” In addition to this, the designer drew more angled versions of the lowercase. “I liked where it was going, but they thought it was too extreme. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll turn it into something…”
  4. In conclusion, the alphabet is made up of what the author defines as “four weights: Light, LightSmallcaps, Regular Y RegularSmallcaps“.

In his blog you can see some of the sketches on which he worked.


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