RE:Design – Future Shock Fridays


Greetings, friends and neighbors! As you know, Ye Olde Dragon gets the urge to fix things sometimes that don’t quite live up to his discerning aesthetic sense. Past examples have been redesigns of DVD releases of KING KONG VS GODZILLA & the ICONS OF SCIENCE-FICTION – THE TOHO COLLECTION. I figured I should make a header, since I still plan on doing these from time to time, thus the title “RE:Design”.

The target of my tension this time around (albeit regretfully) is TCM.

Back in August, they did their own design overhaul, which makes everything look sort of sherbet colored (as so succinctly put by my good friend Kellee Pratt, aka @IrishJayhawk66, author of the blog OUTSPOKEN & FRECKLED) and features a new font for almost EVERYTHING on the channel, if not the website.

I haven’t been able to identify the font yet, but most people feel it’s supposed to look like it was done with a paintbrush. One respondent on TCM‘s own forums went so far as to describe it as, “…It reminds me strongly of words written by the smearing of blood from a serious wound.” WOW! Someone needs a hug, and perhaps a bit of therapy as well.

The thing is, the general consensus is that the new font/look has not been very favorable. There are those who say “Everyone complained two years ago when they changed.” But in all seriousness, I don’t see this font as something that makes me think “Classic Movie”. The problem that some designers have (especially when they’re green) – myself included when I first started – is finding a font that they love and then they start using it in virtually every layout they do.

I think that fonts should be used in the context of what it’s being related to. Look at the font that the TCM website used in promoting their “Sundays With Hitch” – It works PERFECTLY, yes? Considering how many of his films feature violent crime, a font looking like blood splatter is appropriate and thematic.


Here’s their header for their FRIDAY NIGHT SPOTLIGHT:  FUTURE SHOCK –


The font that everyone is talking about so vehemently, is used for “Friday Night Spotlight”. It just doesn’t fit with the theme, in my opinion. Now, to be honest, (and if you deduced from the title of the post) this entire header is the target of my revamp. In no order, here are my three keys to the flaw of this design:

Problem #1: Spotlight Font – As I said, I just feel it’s wrong. It’s somewhat legible, but how does it fit the theme? It almost looks happy. The spotlight is on movies of rather bleak futures.

Problem #2: Future Shock Font – A simple sans serif font, italicized? How does that sell the concept? Where’s the effort?

Problem #3: Jude Law – You think that Jude Law – as the “Gigolo-Bot” from A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (2001) – is the EMBODIMENT of Science-Fiction Movies dealing with grim futures, right? Me neither. With all of the movies they’re showing – with all the amazing imagery at their disposal, they chose him? In addition to that, as good an actor as he is, I do not connect him to classic films.

I’m sorry, TCM design department, but I have to give you a Fail-Zilla for this design.


So, what did I come up with? Well, here it is:


First I have to address the MOST important component. To me, one of the most iconic images in all of Science-Fiction (let alone futuristic films) is the robot in Fritz Lang’s masterpiece, METROPOLIS (1927). What’s more, METROPOLIS was the first film shown in the month long festival. This would make ‘her’ a  much more suitable representative than Mr. Law, in my opinion.

As to the fonts I used, I looked to a source for Science-Fiction – old pulp magazines and comic books. You want that “Friday Night Spotlight” to stand out, so they got it right by making it white, but it stands out much better when the background is darker than what they used. Running with the pulp magazine line of thought, I saw the FNS line as the magazine title with “Future Shock” as the featured story’s title. I gave it a clean, yet comic book styled look, using the free font AR Armorpiercing. As for the Future Shock line itself, I used the free font, FoughtKnight. I used the two sizes in the spirit of many films that used the theme of the title crawling across the screen at different sizes. I gave it the glow to echo the glow surrounding the robot.

So, I leave it to my readers – did I get it right? Feedback is appreciated.

In any event, I’ll be using my header on the blog for the remainder of the month.


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