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Tag Archive: Mike Okuda


Review by C.J. Bunce

In art director and designer Roger Christian’s book Cinema Alchemist (reviewed here at borg) readers learn how the Oscar-winning set designer changed the way audiences see the future through intentionally distressed sets and props and the clever incorporation of real-world components.  In books like Dressing a Galaxy, Star Wars Costumes, and Star Trek Costumes, readers can see how costume designers create what we think of as the future.  Now writer Dave Addey takes science fiction fans back to visit how visionary filmmakers of classic science fiction used futuristic and sometimes even classic fonts and type styles to convey what lies ahead and in his book Typeset in the Future: Typography and Design in Science Fiction Movies, available now from Abrams Books.

At first focusing on what he believes to be the most pervasive font of the future, Eurostile Bold Extended–used in Back to the Future, Apollo 13, Battlestar Galactica, Independence Day, and hundreds of other films–Dave Addey highlights seven key science fiction films and how they used a wide variety of typeface designs to make us see the future.  2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Blade Runner, Total Recall, Wall·E, and Moon (alas, no Star Wars, possibly because it is not technically science fiction per se) each get taken apart and dissected.  With numerous screencaps, and identification of several dozen font designs inside the films and used in marketing via posters and other advertisements, readers will be surprised what set designers came up with over the past 50 years.

Addey finds some of the fonts made famous in film have filtered into our daily lives as real-world corporate logos–Gill Sans Light, City Bold, Univers 59 Ultra Bold Condensed, Manifold, Futura Bold, Kabel Book, Computer, Micr, Data 70, Stop, Handel Gothic, Pump Demi, Swiss 911 Ultra Compressed, Gunship–these will all be familiar to you even if you don’t know them by name.  With his own pop culture knowledge and sense of humor, he has also built his own framework to analyze the success of these fonts, using manipulation via italic slant, curved lettering, straightening others, adding sharp points, adjusting kern or spacing, creating slices through letters, adding texture, adding a bevel or extrusion, and/or a star field background, although he says no title font has yet used them all to become the most futuristic of all.

Here is a look inside the book:

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Ships of the Line posters cover 2015

Star Trek: Ships of the Line is a series of calendars first begun in 2000 for the 2001 calendar year, featuring starships from all series and even ships created specifically for the calendars.  The idea was the brainchild of Adam Lebowitz, a computer graphics animation supervisor on Star Trek Voyager who wanted fans to be able to see highly detailed images of some of the work created for the franchise.  The 2016 calendar is available now here.  Well-known Star Trek graphic designer Mike Okuda released a compilation book of cropped images from most of the calendars through 2006 called Ships of the Line, still available from Amazon.com here.

For the Star Trek 50th anniversary, Universe Publishing is releasing a new version of the Ships of the Line series, Star Trek: Ships of the Line Posters, featuring 24 “posters” of images formerly included in the calendar series or as novel cover artwork, but never released previously in this format.  The posters are images shown with a white matte border and can be easily pulled from the boxed flip cover book and mounted in 11×17 inch frames.  Each photographic image is approximately 7×14 inches and includes the printed artist’s name and title of the work.

SOL Scott

You’ll find images of various versions of the Enterprise, as well as images from Deep Space Nine, Star Trek Voyager, Enterprise, and alien worlds including Vulcan, Romulan and Klingon environments.  The best?  Probably Robert Bonchune’s Assignment: Earth (shown on the cover) and It Would Have Been Glorious, and Pierre Drolet’s Wind Tunnel and None Too Soon, The Skies of Home, each a striking, standout image, featuring the original Enterprise, a Romulan battle, a Romulus homeworld scene, and an experimental craft.

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