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Misery (1990) movie poster

Contributed by Jayce Wheeled on Jul 15th, 2022. Artwork published in .
    Misery (1990) movie poster
    Source: movieposters.ha.com Heritage Auctions. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Misery is a 1990 psychological thriller on Stephen King’s 1987 novel of the same name . The actress Kathy Bates won a Best Actress award for her role in the film at the 63rd annual Academy Awards ceremony.

    The “Misery’”logo is set using an unknown typeface that has a striking resemblance to Harting. It may have been a pre-cursor to what would eventually become Harting, which was released two years after the release of this film, in 1992 [edit: it’s Ribbonfaced Typewriter, see comments].

    The tagline underneath the logo is set in ITC Garamond Bold. The credits also use Garamond Bold, though the designer has squished the letters horizontally to achieve a narrower effect.

    Typefaces

    • Ribbonfaced Typewriter
    • ITC Garamond

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    Artwork location

    2 Comments on “Misery (1990) movie poster”

    1. Thank you!

      Most (probably all) of David Rakowski’s fonts are quick-and-dirty digitizations of existing typefaces and alphabets. For example, his Pixie Font is Filmotype Pixie, Polo-Semi Script is Typoart Polo, etc. pp. Many of these were scanned and traced from alphabet source books such as those published by Dover Publications. I have yet to find a design that Rakowski originated.

      I would assume that this is the case for Harting, too. The two appearances of “proto Harting” from before 1992 (this and Her Alibi) are both on movie posters. Chances are that the original was a proprietary (or shortlived) font used by designers working in the film industry. Would be nice to find out its name!

    2. D’uh, I should have checked my books before writing lengthy comments! That was easier than I thought: the model for Rakowski’s digital Harting (1992) is shown under the name Ribbonfaced Typewriter in Special-effects and Topical Alphabets: 100 Complete Fonts, selected and arranged by Dan X. Solo from the Solotype Typographers catalog, published by Dover Books in 1978.

      Now where Solo got this typeface from, I don’t know. Unfortunately he never included source credits. Likewise, no idea if the movie poster designers ordered their type settings from Solotype (not unlikely – Solotype was still in business in the 1990s, and located in Oakland, close to the movie industry), if they worked with own scans from the same book, or if there was another, earlier (proprietary) digitization. In addition to Harting, there is also Linenstroke by WSI, but I think it came later and was based on Rakowski’s digitization. FWIW, Harting is largely faithful to Ribbonfaced Typewriter, so this new discovery doesn’t explain the differences found in the poster – I’d assume they were introduced by the poster designer.

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