The X-Files main title
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Do we have an ID on the font used for the actors’ and creator’s credits?
In the original SD broadcasts and VHS/DVD releases of Seasons 1–9, what appears to be Helvetica is used for the Duchovny, Anderson, and Carter credits plus the closing “The Truth Is Out There” tag and most other variant closing tags that appear in later episodes. Pre-digitally, Helios was Comugraphic’s alias for Helvetica, later digitized by ParaType/TypeMarket. The precise font for Seasons 1–4 looks to be Helios Cond Light, which appears to be a poorly rendered TrueType clone of ParaType/TypeMarket’s digitization of Helios.
The uneven strokes of the C, D and G, as well as the spindly leg of the R, are the key giveaways—rendering errors that are present only in Helios Cond Light. These errors do not appear in ParaType/TypeMarket’s version. This is eventually substituted for a nicer version of Helvetica from Season 5 onward. Season 8 features a slightly updated opening title sequence, with several new shots inserted, but retains Helvetica for all credits. Note: I use the name Helvetica loosely here, as there are many versions of it under various names.
The episode time/location stamps and end titles use ITC American Typewriter. This appears to be consistent across SD versions of Season 1–9.
For Season 9, a completely new opening title sequence was created. This sequence uses the typeface Interstate for all credits as well as the “paranormal activity,” “the unseen world,” “government denies knowledge” text and the closing “The Truth Is Out There” tag. Interstate was designed by Tobias Frere-Jones and available via Font Bureau.
As identified above, the main title uses a smoothed out FF Trixie Heavy for the large “X” and Industria Solid for “The X Files” text. In the original SD versions, this combination remains fairly consistent for the first 9 seasons, with only minor changes to positioning and spacing.
In 2015, Seasons 1–9 were remastered and released in high definition for Blu-ray and streaming services. These new widescreen (16:9) HD remasters, however, seem to have gotten almost every one of the original fonts wrong. What should be Helvetica becomes a horizontally stretched Abadi Condensed Light. Industria Solid is now Bank Gothic, uncomfortably crushed into a condensed form. American Typewriter is now Clarendon. The smoothed out FF Trixie Heavy “X” in its mysterious torchlight is all that remains, purely because it was part of the original textless video master of the opening title sequence, which was upscaled before the new “remastered” titling was added.
For Seasons 10 (2016) and 11 (2018), the HD remastered version of the opening title sequence from 2015 is reused, with a few new shots inserted for additional cast. What should be Helvetica is now Franklin Gothic rather than Abadi.