TV viewers in the UK are – rather nervously – watching and mostly enjoying the new ITV spy thriller series The Ipcress File, set in 1962 during the depths of the Cold War and in the shadow of nuclear war. The six episodes recreate the grimy looks of 1960s London and Berlin with impressive attention to detail, including vintage cars, cinema posters, and a suitably wide range of political attitudes and social prejudices.
The Egyptienne Bold Condensed typeface for the title conveys (to me – perhaps I’ve been psychologically conditioned, like Harry Palmer?) a nostalgic feeling, as if a big brass nameplate has fallen off the back of an old steam engine.
Many viewers of the new series will inevitably compare it with the iconic original film, The Ipcress File, made in 1965, starring Michael Caine. This was regarded as a realistic portrayal of contemporary grimy London. In that film, though, the title sequence used stencil-style lettering to convey bureaucratic rubber stamps and secret dossiers stored in manila folders. The 1960s wasn’t a decade of nostalgia.
For the opening credits, the TV series uses Type.Today’s Normalidad Extended Black.