I have been fascinated with typewriter fonts ever since I started making fonts. In fact, my first font came to exist as an attempt to “save” my great-grandfather’s very rusty typewriter in font form. I was so tickled with the result, that I decided to release it out into the world, first as Ana’s Rusty Typewriter, and later as an expanded and improved version called Unexpected Typewriter. Thus began a slight obsession with creating fonts in general (and typewriter fonts in particular).
I have since improved upon Unexpected Typewriter (when it comes to realism) with Mystery Typewriter, a more textured font with three different alternatives for each letter, each number, and some of the symbols, based on the same Underwood typewriter. Over the last couple of years, I have also made fonts from different machines, each with its own special features: Fletcher Typewriter (different weights), Amateur Typewriter (monospaced), Secretary Typewriter (underlined, jumpy alternatives) and, more recently, half of my Notes and Quotes font duo (where I pair the typewriter font with a casual script font).
Typewriters and typewriter fonts onscreen
Lately, I have noticed my obsession with typewriters has also spilled over to my movie and TV watching. Below, are five of my favorite examples of typewriter action onscreen.
1) Murder, She Wrote is a forever favorite, with its opening shots of Jessica Fletcher at her typewriter (before she switched to a computer and broke my heart) and the sound of the happy tapping. It is no coincidence I named one of my fonts Fletcher Typewriter.
2) Taskmaster is a more recent favorite, with the awesome use of the typewriter font in the logo, titles and credits of the show. I’m not saying that I choose which TV shows to watch based on their use of typewriter fonts, but subconsciously I’m sure it doesn’t hurt.
3) Secretary (2002, dir. Steven Shainberg) is a movie I have described to people as being a love story about typewriters (am I wrong?!). From the flawless use of the typewriter font in the movie poster to the characters using the typewriters to type out their feelings, a lot of the plot of movie hinges on typewritten messages.
4) Misery (1990, dir. Rob Reiner) is also a movie that uses a typewriter font in the poster (Halloween-esque inspiration, anyone?), and opens with some energetic typewriter typing. As the movie progresses, the typewriter becomes more and more important and a key element in the movie’s conclusion. Spoiler alert, but when Annie gives Paul the typewriter with no N, expecting him to write a whole book with it, my heart nearly stopped. Certainly the most disturbing thing happening in the whole movie.
5) Atonement (2007, dir. Joe Wright) also opens with some audible typewriter typing, and features some lovely typewriter writing in the titles and poster. Plus (not to spoil the movie, but), a typewritten message is pretty central to the plot.
And, finally, a bonus one, All the President’s Men (1976, dir. Alan J. Pakula) where the typewriter writing throughout is just yummy (ah, the 1970s).
Get the look!
Get all the cool features of a typewriter without actually having to lug one around (plus, Misery taught us what dangerous weapons they can become) with a typewriter font (or more).
Typewriter fonts can come in different weights, from thin weary ones to bold inky ones, and have different features. Some fonts have alternates for each glyph that add a little randomness and realism, while others come with bonus misprints. I have also packaged some of my fonts with bonus textures, Photoshop brushes, and old papers - all you need to get a true vintage look. Check out some options in the shop!
And if you can’t decide on which one to get, why not pick up my Ultimate Typewriter font bundle, now available at a very special price!
What about you?
Do you have any examples of cool uses of typewriter fonts onscreen? Do you have a favorite typewriter font? Is there a particular feature you look for in a typewriter font?
In an effort to join three of my absolute favorite things together: typewriters, movies and lists (don't judge!), I have compiled a list of all the movie posters that use typewriter fonts on my Letterboxd. If you are so inclined and know of other movies that feature a typewriter font in the poster, please don’t hesitate to comment on the list so I can add it! Here’s a little preview of the list so far: