Thursday, January 6, 2011

Jungle Cruise

This week's case study is the world famous Jungle Cruise. When talking type treatments, the Jungle Cruise is a prime example of how fonts can really help "plus" an environment and support the storyline in further detail.

Most, if not all, the typography found on the Jungle Cruise has been hand rendered/generated. Back in the day you couldn't just jump on dafont or myfonts and easily find a distressed, aged, vintage or hand painted looking display font. Disney designers had to painstakingly paint all the copy by hand, then distress it to achieve that worn look. The process sounds amazing and is still carried out to this day for certain projects.

So if the fonts have been created by hand, how can we find the ones designers used throughout the attraction?

Well, you see, most of these hand rendered/generated fonts have characteristics of the original in which it derived from.  If we pay close attention these characteristics act as subtle clues that will help in our detective work. If you look at the main sign for Disneyland's Jungle Cruise, we begin to notice certain details such as triangular serifs, sharp pointed terminals, extended legs that drop down into the descender line and so on. These character characteristics are specific to various classifications in the world of typography such as Slab Serif, Latin, Egyptienne, Arts and Crafts, Spurred Serif, etc. These classifications reflect time periods, themes and so forth. Still with me? Good.

Most of the logos used for attractions within the parks have also been manipulated by designers. Logos usually are meant to be one of a kind and extremely unique. In order to make a logo unique designers sometimes start with a base or root font. The designer will then take that font into illustrator (or by hand) and begin to manipulate it so that it becomes unique and not so off the shelf. With the above characteristics and some basic history of type we can assume the font used for the Jungle Cruise sign isn't something we can just readily find as we see it on the marquee of the attraction.

Through my research I have come close to finding a few commercial fonts that may be the root/base font the designer used as reference. Some of the typography throughout the attraction is straight forward, while some is completely one of a kind. Next time you're in line, try to count just how many different fonts are used; the number is overwhelming. . .but not as overwhelming as Main Street USA!

Thanks again for visiting! Be sure to tune in next Friday for the another installment of the font case study posters where I'll look at another amazing Disney attraction. See you real soon!