Brad Bird Responds to Typographer

Over the last few days, this conversation has grown on Twitter:

Matthew Butterick, remember, is the typographer who wrote the letter to Brad Bird about his use of Verdana in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. Hoefler & Frere-Jones is one of the top type foundries in the world, so it’s nice to see them add their perspective on the issue of on-screen fonts.

There’s a lot of sniping here, but I think it’s a good thing that these respective heavyweights are having a public discussion about film typography. I’m a fan of Bird’s work and of Ghost Protocol, but I think he’s in the wrong here. His dismissal of fonts seems boorish. Not only will he not defend his work, but he shrugs off the question of his choice: “I was shown a few sans serif fonts and I picked the 1st that didn’t bother me!”

If it’s in the frame then the onus is on the director to make a deliberate and defensible choice. Bird is asking for a free pass.

The devil really is in the details.

(h/t commenter “tejas” on Baradwaj Rangan’s Web site.)