sparked by my illustrator/design professor friend Tom mentioning that Star Trek design is like the typeface Helvetica, designed in 1957.
Its clean lines are sans-serif (without the serifs--the little tails on letters).
Here--I've changed my blog's font to Arial, a Microsoft clone of Helvetica.
(I'll change it back later, as I think it's hard to read lots of text without serifs.)
LEFT: Poster from the Helvetica NOW Poster Contest for the fiftieth anniversary of Helvetica type font, via Crust Station
In the documentary film Helvetica (2007, dir. Gary Hustwit), graphic designer Wim Crouwel said:
"Helvetica was a real step from the 19th century typeface...Uh-huh. Nothing humans do is neutral. Design has meaning.
We were impressed by that because it was more neutral, and neutralism was a word that we loved. It shouldn't have a meaning in itself. The meaning is in the content of the text and not in the typeface." [italics mine]
Even moral meaning.
I love modern design!
But I am always wary of philosophies--whether political, religious, or aesthetic--that want to tidy up humans. Take a preference for stripped-down design to extremes, and you can even arrive at a kind of cultural eugenics.
An Austrian named Adolf said:
"The evolution of culture marches with the elimination of ornament from useful objects."
--Austrian modern architect Adolf Loos, that is,
from his 1908 booklet Ornament and Crime
"Loos [linked] the optimistic sense of the linear and upward progress of cultures with the contemporary vogue for applying evolution to cultural contexts."
Gotta add a little Shatner to muss up the tidy minded...
See the range of ST fonts here. "Horizon" is a typeface designed by Bitstream based on the original Star Trek font.
The Memory Alpha (ST wiki) entry on Star Trek Fonts notes that Helvetica Ultra Condensed is used for library computer displays in ST: TNG (The Next Generation).
But here, left, Gary Mitchell's ESP profile from the TOS pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before" is mostly in old typewriter font... (with underlinings in pen---how quaint!).
From the very cool entry with screencaps of Images Seen on the Original USS Enterprise Library Computer.