An independent archive of typography.

The Great Gatsby (2013) film promotion

Deco chrome type adds to the glam glitz of Baz Luhrmann’s ultra-stylized ’20s.

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Apr 29th, 2013. Artwork published in .

The high-contrast lettershapes in this old Renault chrome nameplate have a stripe pattern similar to the one in Atlas.

The promo material for the upcoming Baz Luhrmann film demonstrates that, sometimes, even free fonts can look quite classy when used in a fitting and unconventional way. For the Great Gatsby posters and trailers, the designers of Concept Arts mixed Atlas and Atlas Solid (Harold Lohner’s updated and refined versions of his older freebie release), added a dimensional effect, and put a thick layer of shiny chrome on top of it. Together with the kaleidoscopic pattern, they thus successfully established a glittering Roaring Twenties atmosphere, the period in which the story of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is set in. (It goes without saying that it’s the showy Hollywood definition of this already swank decade.)

K.H. Schaefer’s Fatima Versalien AKA Atlas, as published by the Fonderie Typographique Française in 1933. Image courtesy of the Musée de l’imprimerie de Lyon

Atlas is not be confused with the 1930s slab-serif namesake (Lettergieterij Amsterdam’s version of Welt-Antiqua), nor with the recent Atlas by Commercial Type.

The history of this Atlas goes back all the way to 1933 (eight years after the publication of The Great Gatsby), when it was designed by K.H. Schaefer for the German type foundry Schriftguß AG vorm. Brüder Butter as Fatima Versalien. In the same year, Fonderie Typographique Française published their version of Fatima Versalien under the name Atlas (and marketed it as a decorated complement to their simpler Art Deco sans-serif Apollo). Schriftguß later added a related oblique typeface, Ondina (Karl Kranke, 1935).

From Tobey Maguire (Nick Carraway) …

… and Joel Edgerton (Tom Buchanan) …

… to Elizabeth Debicki (Jordan Baker), …

… Isla Fisher (Myrtle Wilson), …

… Carey Mulligan (Daisy Buchanan) …

… and Leonardo DiCaprio (Jay Gatsby) – The Great Gatsby stars quite a few big names.

In 2001, Harold Lohner digitized the 6-line typeface, added a Solid style and made the fonts freely available. On the FontBros site, Lohner writes:

Atlas is based on a classic analog Art Deco font of the same name. My first version of it – the one with stripes – was originally named Farouk, but I’ve changed it to conform with period sources I have since found. I’ve also recreated the companion Solid font; both are completely redrawn with very clean edges.

Both the free and the optimized commercial version keep it true to the source and feature a very narrow ‘G’ and a rather wide ‘K’ and ‘M’. These glyphs – and maybe others – have been modified and normalized for this use, at least in some instances. Also has the number of lines been reduced to four.

In the trailer, the striped and the solid styles of Atlas are taking turns on a per-character base, and thereby intensify the metallic feel.

The official website for the film uses Newport Classic SG as a webfont for navigation (though a web license doesn’t seem to be available), and the slightly clumsy Governor for the Monogram Creator interface. Governor also serves as the “GREAT” in the film logo, but it’s not so great. Perhaps the more refined Mostra Nuova would be better for both of these uses.

16 Comments on “The Great Gatsby (2013) film promotion”

  1. Garrison says:
    Apr 30th, 2013 2:12 pm
    The font used in the poster and promo stuff is called “Deco Pinstripe.” It’s based on Atlas but only loosely. The typeface was made by Like Minded Studio, based out of Syndey.
  2. Thanks, Garrison. I’ve added Like Minded to the designer credits and we’ll include a sample of Deco Pinstripe if we can get a hold of one.

  3. The identity credits as posted to Facebook by Like Minded Studio:

    Baz Luhrman & Catherine Martin
    Silvana Azi Herras & Catherine Martin
    Luca Ionescu / Like Minded Studio

    I assume Concept Arts was responsible for the posters and advertising.
  4. Yes, thank you, Garrison, much appreciated. Sometimes it’s hard to track down designer credits.

    Right, I noticed that the lettershapes had been modified. As I wrote in the article, it’s Atlas with less stripes and, for some glyphs, normalized widths. The names on the posters seem to be set in standard Atlas Solid, though.

  5. By the way, Atlas Solid is not an original addition by Harold Lohner. It hearkens back to Capitol, which was designed by Schaefer in 1931 and hence predates its striped sister style Fatima by two years. In France, Capitol was known as Titan.

  6. Garrison says:
    May 3rd, 2013 12:39 pm
    Yeah, Florian, I think you’re right about the mix of Atlases. The movie was originally scheduled to be released in 2012 and the promo material for that release used Deco Pinstripe pretty heavily. When this newest release date came closer, the look of the promo material changed slightly. Now I’m curious which typeface will be used for the title sequence. Thanks Stephen and Florian for hearing me out (even though I possessed out-of-date info)!
  7. Joemigo says:
    May 3rd, 2013 12:43 pm

    Don’t like the Avant Garde (or is it Century Gothic) on the star-posters. Maybe Futura, Nobel, etc. would have been a better choice…

    Just my 2¢

  8. Does anyone know what typeface is used for the movie credits at the end of the movie?

  9. Garrison says:
    May 17th, 2013 11:35 pm

    Luca Ionescu recently posted a bunch of cool pictures and information that document his involvment in the The Great Gatsby promotional project over at Behance.

    Sketches and unused drafts of the Gatsby identity are also featured.

    A sample of his Deco Pinstripe typeface can be found in his post.

    He also mentions that Deva Studios is responsible for the 3D rendering of the identity.

  10. Chris says:
    Jul 7th, 2013 8:24 am

    I’m also interested in finding out what font they used in the credits that supported Atlas. Does anyone know at all?  Really clean and simple sans with a nod to art deco.

  11. Just discovered it. The font used in the credits is Affect Bold.

  12. Can anyone find the font face used by the psychiatrist in the Great Gatsby Movie?

  13. I don’t think this is a font. It is written by hand.

  14. Abhishek says:
    Dec 26th, 2013 12:06 pm
    That’s true but can anyone tell where can I find the complete family of this or another similar to this??
  15. Often, if you want handwriting, the best solution is to use handwriting. Hire a lettering artist, many of whom specialize in this kind of style.

    If you absolutely must use a font, perhaps because your content is dynamic, there are a few typefaces in this genre that do a fairly good job of simulating handwriting: Mr Sheffield, Mr LeopoldeMiss Robertson, Dear Sarah, P22 HopperBrisaHandsomeRollerscript, or the more decorative Olicana, which was coincidentally used for an effect elsewhere in the Gatsby film.

  16. Cindy Thomason says:
    Feb 16th, 2014 10:26 am
    Also, the font used as Jay Gatsby’s handwriting throughout the movie was created by me, and is called Grandhappy. It is an approximation of my grandfather’s handwriting.

Post a comment