I always get a kick out of seeing graphic design minutia appear in the main stream. Saturday, September 30, 2017, Ryan Gosling performed an SNL sketch lamenting the use of Papyrus for the Avatar logo.
“I forgot about it for years,” Gosling said, “But then I remembered that Avatar, the giant, international blockbuster, used the Papyrus font as its logo.”
“I don’t think this is literally Papyrus,” replies a defender, “Maybe that was the starting point but they clearly modified this.”
“Whatever they did,” Gosling exclaims, “IT WASN’T ENOUGH!”
Pitiful, but these are not far from the genuine thoughts of more than a few graphic designers. We are cursed with an eye for what most find trivial. Balance, structure, order, spacing, nuance—and all the other subtleties of page language. We spend hours building the perfect color palette, take the time to move one letter character a tiny fraction of an inch closer to the next, and can spot heavy-handed photo retouching from across a room.
In this case, Chris Costello (the real life designer of the Papyrus typeface) will be the first to tell you that his typeface was designed with limited applications in mind. When I saw it the first time years ago, I liked it. I still like it, but (then and now) I’d be very picky about when and how I’d use it.
As the illustration above shows, the Avatar logo clearly was created using the Papyrus typeface. But too, to my way of thinking, IT WAS ENOUGH!
Thanks to Lee Garvey and Jim Green for pointing us to it.