City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

Futura Extra Bold, and Stanley

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Fabulous Jon Ronson article in Saturday’s Guardian on Stanley Kubrick, and his legacy of an estate littered with cardboxes full of research. Boxes and boxes and boxes of the most impossibly detailed research across numerous films, many of them never actually made. The article includes this great vignette between Ronson and Tony Frewin, Kubrick’s assistant/office manager.

"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."

The Guardian: Citizen Kubrick


One response to “Futura Extra Bold, and Stanley”

  1. Michael Honey Avatar

    WTF? IIRC, the font a the start of 2001 is a tracked-out Gill Sans. Or am I just imagining things? I’m half a world away from my DVD copy, so I’m going on memory here.
    Tell you what, though, if you want a big fat Futura, there’s a building-sized poster towards the end of Good Bye Lenin! announcing the DDR’s 50th anniversary.


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