When we imagine the future we’re often reimagining our present. These imagined futures are a reflection of our fears, hopes and dreams for our current time. This is a special feature I designed and developed for menswear website Epochs—in it we look at how futurism in clothing shaped what we wear today
Each special feature I created for Epochs has a unique typographic opening that conveys the themes of the article and seeks to draw the reader down into the text. This article’s inspiration was Richard Greenberg’s title sequence for Alien—in my opinion the greatest in cinema. Bizarre shapes, ominous music and a black background convey the film’s genre, themes and tones before finally coming together and revealing the abstract forms are a word—Alien.
I sought to reference Greenberg while remaking it for the vertical scroll of the web. I set the word ’shape’ in Futura and pulled it apart into three layers of abstract geometric shapes that converge perfectly and fall apart as the reader scrolls. It captures the ideas of tension, gravity and space common in sci-fi.
Trying to find a typographic treatment without feeling cliché was difficult. So much of science fiction falls back on taking the horizontal bar out of Eurostile and calling it a day. After a lot of research on the books, movies and art we planned on discussing we fell upon the opening crawl from Blade Runner.
This one screen has so many eccentricities. The choice of a typeface from 1915 is bizarre, random words are capitalised, em dashes change width, a single word is set in red—yet it still feels futuristic, uneasy, dystopian even. It was perfect. This became the lodestar for our body copy, we set the text in the same Goudy Old Style and our links use chunky red underlines.
No retro-futurism article is complete without a monospace. While we were working on this project Colophon released Space Mono, a characterful monospace that referenced sci-fi staples like Microgramma and Eurostile. This became both the display type that introduces each section of the article and the years on the timeline that follow the reader through the era they’re reading about.