Thursday, April 21, 2011

Indiana Jones

In this week’s attraction typography case study, we'll look at the typography used in the various Indiana Jones attractions within the theme parks. Indiana Jones has a huge presence within some of the Disney Theme Parks across the globe: Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular at Disney Hollywood Studios; Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril at Disneyland Paris; Indiana Jones Adventure: The Temple of the Forbidden Eye at Disneyland; and lastly, Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull at DisneySea. These attractions take the forms of audience participation shows, state-of-the-art dark rides and simple themed roller coasters.

When looking at the typography from all of the Indy attractions, one in particular stands out: the Indiana Jones Adventure: The Temple of the Forbidden Eye. With its elaborate queue and pre-show, the Imagineers really set the stage for guests. The typography throughout the queue is one of the key elements in presenting a believable story. If you're a fan of Indy movies, you immediately think of adventure, 1800's & early 1900's archeology, distressed and aged artifacts, art deco, the arts and crafts period and so on. These same themes are present within all of the display fonts designers used in and around the attraction. 

What makes this one attraction even more exciting for typeractive people like myself is that designers at WDI created their own typeface for this attraction . . . well, more of a hieroglyphic. Hieroglyphics were one of the earliest forms of character (letter) writing, even though they're more closely related to pictograms and ideograms. When the attraction first opened, Imagineers provided clue cards that assigned the various characters of this ancient language to letters that closely matched our alphabet so that guests could decipher the messages. This was a simple but amazing feature to this attraction—I only wish the line didn't run so long so that I could one day explore the temple and decode the messages for myself.

The other Indy-based shows and attractions include more of the standard Indiana Jones fonts with some subtle changes here and there. Not enough typography to build and design an entire case study around, so you will see some of the typefaces from other locales within this week’s poster. I hope that one day I can visit the other Disney Theme Parks so that I can continue my research, but for now, photos on the web will have to do.

Growing up with Indiana Jones films, I can only hope that Disney and Lucas will continue to plus this property and bring more amazing attractions and offerings to the theme parks, along with some more amazing thematic typography. Well that does it for this week’s case study. Tune in on Monday for another Retro 71 concept and as always, thanks for stopping by.