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Official Yomega Zone Training Video

Contributed by Jack Grimes on Jul 3rd, 2020. Artwork published in .
    Couldn't see this thing at the flea market and not pick it up.
    Photo: Jack Grimes. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Couldn't see this thing at the flea market and not pick it up.

    A VHS tape distributed by the Yomega company in 1998 showcasing various yo-yo tricks, ranging from “basic” to “advanced”. In line with Yomega’s intended target audience of kids and teens, the packaging is a radical extravaganza of “xtreme” ’90s typography.

    For the title, two lines of Stencil sandwich a wild combination of Letraset’s Quicksilver and Caslon Antique (only Quicksilver escapes this pileup un-stretched), with everything coated in hot-dog colors to jump off the faux-paint-splattered background. While I have no solid evidence of this, I have to believe that the choice of Caslon Antique (with added cross hairs) for “ZONE” is inspired by its use in the 1985 Twilight Zone series.

    The yo-yo itself features livery in Serpentine & ITC Souvenir—although it appears based on Yomega’s website that the Fireball has since been redesigned.

    After some relatively dull center-aligned Helvetica the front cover goes all-in on the bottom-left bubble, skewing “FUN” (set in an unidentified sans; my best guess is slightly-stretched Helvetica Compressed or maybe Haettenschweiler?) into a zany trapezoid and committing a virtual typographic felony by smushing that poor Benguiat “37” almost beyond recognition to fit a shape that’ll fit beside the “cool kid” mascot.

    The side panel reuses the same assets in a new arrangement (The repeated emphasis on “OFFICIAL” leads one to wonder if there was a wave of bootleg yo-yo training tapes they were trying to undermine). The back is, somewhat disappointingly, just a lot of Helvetica, although I appreciate the included timestamps for if you’d like to skip the baby stuff and get right to the “advanced” tricks.

    The label on the tape can’t resist adding one more font to the mix by using Tekton Bold to remind us again that this video features yo-yo-trick champions Jennifer Baybrook and Chris Ciosek. The Yo-Yo Wiki tells me that Baybrook was the first female world champion, and a local news article claims Ciosek, apparently a Yomega employee, performed 31 tricks in 60 seconds at a 1999 competition in Hawaii. He seems pretty cool about it:

    “Not only did I get to retain my Guinness Book title,” he said with a smile, “I had a nice vacation to boot.”

    While I lack a working VCR, I’ve found the video in full online and its highly late-90s “corporate grunge” graphics use a distressed typewriter font that I’ve searched extensively for a match to but haven’t identified yet. It’s also worth watching for the opening segment explaining the yo-yo’s inner mechanisms if you’re a fan of primitive CGI.

    Somewhat clunky reading order on the spine.
    License: All Rights Reserved.

    Somewhat clunky reading order on the spine.

    Very dramatic split in this list between names where you can sort of guess what the trick looks like and names that clearly just sounded cool.
    License: All Rights Reserved.

    Very dramatic split in this list between names where you can sort of guess what the trick looks like and names that clearly just sounded cool.

    I did the math on that runtime—it's a little over one trick per minute. What a value!
    License: All Rights Reserved.

    I did the math on that runtimeit's a little over one trick per minute. What a value!

    The graphics in the video itself use some kind of grunge typewriter face, although the shifting glyph sizes, bevel effect and VHS fuzz make it tough to identify.
    Source: https://www.youtube.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    The graphics in the video itself use some kind of grunge typewriter face, although the shifting glyph sizes, bevel effect and VHS fuzz make it tough to identify.

    Typefaces

    • Stencil (ATF)
    • Quicksilver
    • Caslon Antique
    • Serpentine
    • ITC Souvenir
    • Helvetica
    • ITC Benguiat
    • Tekton
    • unidentified typeface

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    1 Comment on “Official Yomega Zone Training Video”

    1. Oh my. “Thanks” for bringing back the memories! You nailed it. For the typewriter face: I wouldn’t be surprised if it was plain old Courier, dying the death of a thousand effects.

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