Excellent Documentary Marred By Typographic Anachronisms

The best way to tick off a graphic designer cum typography blogger? Intercut the historical footage from 1963 in the BBC documentary Martin Luther King and the March on Washington with images of fake vintage banners printed in vinyl with friggin’ Arial (released in 1982). Last night I was thoroughly enjoying the documentary until the sight of that godawful rip-off neo-grotesque specifically designed to compete with Helvetica – with its limpy leg on the R and half-arsed G – completely yanked me out of my viewing experience. I understand the need for poetic slow motion images of a banner waving in the wind, but couldn’t they at least try to fake it a little more convincingly? Can you believe I actually felt cheated and only half believed the remainder of the documentary? I urge the United Nations to issue a stern warning and vote a resolution for mandatory typographic consultants in film and television productions, preferably the slightly brilliant and always affable Mark Simonson. Shame on you, BBC, shame on you!

Genuine banner attached to a 1963 Greyhound bus, lovingly lettered with black sharpie.

The fakest fakery in the fake history of fakeness, printed in vinyl with Arial.

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