Sunday, August 5, 2012

Disney's Monorail System

Welcome back to another Designerland Attraction Case Study. This week, we'll be leaving the Magic Kingdom behind as we jump aboard our highway in the sky. For those of you standing, please hold on to the hand rails throughout our journey and stay clear of the doors. And for the comfort of others, no smoking, please.

When it comes to the Disney Parks’ Monorail Systems, there's so much history we could talk about, from the Monorail’s great beginnings at the Disneyland Resort to the majestic fleet at Walt Disney World. But here at Designerland, we talk type, so let's delve into those finicky and at times hard-to-find fonts that have appeared in, on or around the Monorail.

When thinking of the Monorail, the terms futuristic, modern and streamlined come to mind. What better typefaces to use than sans-serif fonts which often share this same description. Looking back at the first Monorail at Disneyland, most of the type used were actually hand-generated display fonts that looked like something out of a sci-fi comic. Over the years we see a transition to more classic typefaces such as Futura and Helvetica. The Walt Disney World Resorts’ Monorail signage and graphics pretty much align to those standards with a few exceptions, depending on which resort you're staying in.

A few years back when Imagineers decided to give Disneyland's Monorail a facelift, they decided to brand the attraction with a decorative display font alongside a very popular Epcot Center display font for most of their signage, merchandise and literature. When comparing the two resorts from a typographical viewpoint, Disneyland's Monorail is more fantastical in a Buck Rogers sort of way, whereas the Disney World Resort’s Monorail is more mod.

Well that does it for this week’s post. Thanks for stopping by and be sure to tune in next week for a new Disneyland Retro '55 shirt concept. Until next time!