Yesterday I discussed the fonts used at Epcot. Today I’ll be looking at the typefaces used at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But first let’s take a gander at the old logo for this park.
Three fonts were used for The Disney/MGM Studios. The names “Disney” and “MGM” used their official corporate typeface while “STUDIOS” used a font called Marquee.
The new logo uses a typeface extremely similar to a font called Playwrite. These letters have an Art Deco feel which is consistent with the architecture found on Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards.
The letters at the front of the park uses another Art Deco font.
For the most part, the signs on Hollywood Boulevard continue to use clean and stylish sans-serif fonts of the Art Deco style. But what sets this street apart from other locales is the illumination of the letters with neon tubing. The origin of tubular lighting is in dispute, but it is generally believed it came into existence at the end of the 19th century. Common use of the neon signs began in the early 1930’s and caught on quickly.
“Oscar’s” is a fun sign. It’s round like a wheel and uses a tire to make up the “O.” And I also have to wonder if this designation was selected because the word “car” is contained in the name.
Sunset Boulevard is lined with movie houses. Although neon lighting and Art Deco fonts are popular here, much of the signage is placed on the theaters’ marquees. Simple black letters that can easily be changed from week to week look down on the guests from an illuminated white background.
The Sunset Ranch Market was once a working farm with horses and cattle. So it is befitting that the font used to designate this now open-air market is a rope that was once used to maintain the animals.
Fonts come in many shapes and sizes, including nautical signal flags. Have you ever wondered what the pennants spell at Catalina Eddie’s? CATEDDIES
The “Tower of Terror” uses two fonts. First, there is the stately serif font that represents the Hollywood Tower Hotel. Then there is the Twilight Zone font. This is the same typeface as used in the CBS television show by the same name at the beginning of each episode.
The font used on “Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster” looks fast. The slanted letters and underlined words tell the guests they’re in for a high-speed journey.
An ingenious combination of two letters creates the logo for G-Force Records, the recording studio that houses “Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster.”
The first Brown Derby Restaurant opened in 1926 and its whimsical architecture became synonymous with the Golden Age of Hollywood. Disney’s version of this famous eatery is based on the second Brown Derby and is designed in the Spanish Mission style. However, the original eye-catching logo is still used.
A number of street signs can be seen along Hollywood Boulevard, including one of the most famous of them all. So it’s no wonder that a restaurant would borrow the name, look, and font to create a catchy sign.
The insignias over the S.S. Down the Hatch alternate between flags and pennants. The flags represent letters, the pennants represent numbers.
The flags spell out: D O C K S I D E D I N E R
The numbers are: 7 8 2 5 6 2 8 9 6 3 5 4
I have no idea the meaning of the numbers.
Everything about this next sign reeks 1950’s America. The shape, the clock, and especially the fonts all recall a simpler time. If you’d like to add a font to your computer similar to “PRIME” as seen on this sign, Google “Cheap Motel Font.”
Both “Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular” and “Star Tours” use the same fonts that were seen on movie posters and theater marquees. This helps guests associate one to the other.
Near the “Indiana Jones” show is a quick service restaurant and a souvenir stand. These establishments use a military stencil on their signs to tie them into WWII, the era in which Indy was fighting the Nazis.
Other souvenir stands around the park promote a movie theme by cleverly placing letters on a film strip.
Tatooine is the home planet for Anakin and Luke Skywalker. It is a dry planet and moisture farming is a way of life here in order to survive. So it’s fitting that the Tatooine Traders sign is etched into rock. Both English and Tatooine lettering is used.
Although not advertising a place or product, these Muppet-painted signs effectively set a mood of zaniness and mischief.
Once again, continuity is extremely important. The lettering used for the Pizza Planet Restaurant is exactly the same as the pizzeria Buzz and Woody head off to in the movie “Toy Story.”
There is a wide assortment of signs and lettering on the “Streets of America.” All are apropos of a big city.
This New York subway sign uses the same font and symbols as the actual transit signs in the Big Apple. And it’s no accident that the “W” and “D” lines were depicted here.
Sometimes the words overshadow any font used.
As in a number of other attractions, slanted letters give us the illusion of speed on the “LIGHTS, MOTORS, ACTION, Extreme Stunt Show” sign. In addition, a tachometer has been substituted for the “O” in “MOTORS” to accent this point.
The font on this giant clapboard looks like it was handwritten in chalk.
What better typeface could there be than Alphabet Blocks and Scrabble Letters to create the signage for Toy Story Midway Mania.
If you’re going to tell the story of Walt Disney, what better lettering could you use than his own handwriting? By the way, if you’d like to download the Disney font to your computer, Google: Walt Disney Script
Both “Voyage of the Little Mermaid” and Playhouse Disney Live on Stage” use their theatrical and television fonts. Once again, continuity helps tell the story.
Well, that’s all I have for fonts at the four theme parks. In these four blogs I’ve posted over two hundred photographs, yet I’ve barely scratched the surface on this subject. Signage and lettering are extremely powerful storytelling tools and I hope my article has helped you realize this. As I’ve said so many times, Disney puts a tremendous amount of thought into everything they do. No detail is too small.