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Jeopardy! Game Show

Contributed by Stephen Coles on Dec 22nd, 2013. Artwork published in .
    Game board, Season 29 (2012–13).
    Source: http://gameshows.wikia.com © "JEOPARDY!" is a registered trademark of Jeopardy Productions, Inc. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Game board, Season 29 (2012–13).

    The quiz game show Jeopardy! is a great typographic test case. The program fills more screen and airtime with type than any other TV show in the US, and the effectiveness of that type is crucial to the success of the game.

    First, that wacky logo. The iconic Jeopardy! title we know today first premiered in 1984 and is likely derived from a phototype face known as Anonymous, perhaps the same source as Annual, one of URW++’s many digitizations from the film font era.

    The game board has undergone various changes over the last few decades but the relatively unsophisticated style has remained essentially the same. Since the 1980s, the board’s categories and dollar levels have used different widths of Swiss 911, Bitstream’s version of Helvetica.

    Besides the logo, perhaps the most recognizable type in Jeopardy! is on the clue cards. Though there are certainly more legibile typefaces than Helvetica Compressed, the categories and levels were clearly designed to make the type as large as possible without sacrificing too much clarity. The clues, on the other hand, don’t seem to account for either readability or space efficiency. They are set in all-caps ITC Korinna, a fairly ornamental serif with unusual Art Nouveau-inspired lettershapes. I suppose you could argue that the lack of repetitive forms aids legibility, but my guess is that the odd choice is merely a result of what was in style at the time — Ed Benguiat’s and Victor Caruso’s typefaces were certainly fasionable in the 1970s and ’80s.

    The “Daily Double” type is likely a modification of Square 721, Bitstream’s version of Eurostile. [Or rather Steile Futura Bold, see comments.]

    The first Jeopardy! set for its syndication run was designed in 1984 by Henry J. Lickel. The last few incarnations of the set were designed by Naomi Slodki.

    ITC Korinna has been used for clue cards since the beginning of the game show’s syndication run in 1984. If the strange type choice doesn’t distract type nerds from successfully playing Jeopardy! the lack of proper quotes and apostrophes will.
    © "JEOPARDY!" is a registered trademark of Jeopardy Productions, Inc. License: All Rights Reserved.

    ITC Korinna has been used for clue cards since the beginning of the game show’s syndication run in 1984. If the strange type choice doesn’t distract type nerds from successfully playing Jeopardy! the lack of proper quotes and apostrophes will.

    The Jeopardy! logo as seen in the opening sequence during Season 29 (2012–13).
    © "JEOPARDY!" is a registered trademark of Jeopardy Productions, Inc. License: All Rights Reserved.

    The Jeopardy! logo as seen in the opening sequence during Season 29 (2012–13).

    Dollar levels, Season 29 (2012–13).
    © "JEOPARDY!" is a registered trademark of Jeopardy Productions, Inc. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Dollar levels, Season 29 (2012–13).

    Daily Double, Season 29 (2012–13).
    © "JEOPARDY!" is a registered trademark of Jeopardy Productions, Inc. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Daily Double, Season 29 (2012–13).

    Double Jeopardy!, Season 29 (2012–13).
    © "JEOPARDY!" is a registered trademark of Jeopardy Productions, Inc. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Double Jeopardy!, Season 29 (2012–13).

    Video Daily Double, Season 29 (2012–13).
    © "JEOPARDY!" is a registered trademark of Jeopardy Productions, Inc. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Video Daily Double, Season 29 (2012–13).

    Typefaces

    • Anonymous
    • Swiss 911
    • ITC Korinna
    • Steile Futura
    • Coffee Service

    Formats

    Topics

    Designers/Agencies

    Artwork location

    11 Comments on “Jeopardy! Game Show”

    1. Zach says:
      Feb 28th, 2014  4:20 pm

      Any thoughts on the font used during this season’s credits?

    2. Robert K S says:
      Oct 29th, 2014  5:07 pm

      Re: the dig about “proper quotes and apostrophes” — for the first many years of the syndicated run, the show did use curly quotes and apostrophes. I don’t know the exact date that practice was stopped but it was probably sometime in the ’90s when they upgraded their TV banks to larger CRTs and likely got a new Chryon system at the same time.

      I would guess the choice of Korinna had more to do with what was available on the early Chyron system they used.  On his website, Tom Thomas talked about how in early 1984 he and Betsy Overly chose Korinna for Pittsburgh Pirates cablecasts because, out of the few dozen font styles Chyron provided in its library on 8-inch floppy disks, Korinna was one of the several that came in five different sizes, and seemed relatively fresh, style-wise. The ability to display the text as large as possible on a 13" television screen on the game board would have been a decisive factor for choosing a font; a better question is why the same font is still used today to print off the game boards for Alex to read on paper, or why it’s used for the Clue Crew’s prompt pages when recording clues!

      Korinna was also used for the credits and titles of numerous other shows in the ’80s. Speaking without any hard quantitative data to back me up, I would even venture it was the most popular font on TV for at least some of that decade.

    3. Bruce says:
      Jun 15th, 2015  8:24 pm

      Google brought me here, because. the Jeopardy! logo typeface is genius. We need to find out who developed it and how.  The typeface needs to be fully developed.

    4. Bruce says:
      Jun 15th, 2015  8:27 pm

      Nevermind, it’s been done:

      “Gyparody Regular was created in 2000. A decade later, a new version and full Gyparody family has been released. This version sticks more closely to the design of the original font on which Gyparody was based: a late 1960s font called Anonymous.”

    5. Kim Veranga says:
      Aug 8th, 2016  12:17 pm

      What is the color of the word “Video” on the Video Daily Double. Responses will be highly appreciated.

    6. Aug 8th, 2016  12:43 pm
      Kim, judging from the image shown above, I’d say it’s a vertical gradient from orange to (golden) yellow.
    7. Robert K S says:
      Nov 26th, 2016  4:11 pm

      Just in case anyone ventures here in search of font information in the future, it should be noted that while Swiss 911 may be the font used for the dollary values on the board, these days the category titles are rendered with Helvetica Inserat LT, and Univers LT 75 Black is the font used to display the players’ scores.

    8. Jameir says:
      May 11th, 2018  2:22 pm

      What about Steile Futura BQ for “Daily Double”?

    9. May 11th, 2018  6:35 pm

      Thanks, Jameir! Looks good to me. It seems to be a bit beefier, but that might be due to the treatment. Added.

    10. Jameir says:
      May 12th, 2018  2:23 pm

      What is “Enchanted”?

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