Papyrus Watch

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Avatar is Papyrus?

This December, Papyrus hits the big screens. David caught James Cameron (or some oblivious designer) using Papyrus for the new Avatar movie. He even shows us how it's could be done in a few steps in 8 minutes in Photoshop.
Yeah, and can we do the poster and stuff with that font on all the Asian restaurants down at the mall? I love that font!
We've received several submissions and tweets about this recently when the trailer was released. So there we have it. More Papyrus making it's way into major productions. But, there are people noticing, it's getting too far out of hand. And don't movies usually have their own custom fonts? I mean c'mon, this is a pretty intense looking multi-million-dollar production. Anyway, there it is. I guess James Cameron just really loves Papyrus.

Thanks to everyone who pointed this out to us.


  1. I thought it looked close but not an exact match. Here's a Flickr back atcha:

    BTW, I found out about your blog because I googled if such a thing existed. Sure enough... :D

  2. Papyrus already hit the big screen with Serenity, and what a shame that was!

  3. Piss poor design. I reckonCameron made the titles himself in imovie or something, after he ran out of the last dollar of his 500 million.

    This is a film where he even hired a goddam botanist to name the plants, but hire a designer to do the titles? Noooooo. Get a fucking office temp to do that in sony vegas.

  4. It's actually not Papyrus. But I think that's even worse. Here is a closeup comparison:

  5. As i wrote on Adam's blog I think they took Papyrus and customized it (which is pretty bad). Thoughts?

  6. heh I wish you all were there so I could bitch about overused fonts for 3 hours, as much as I loved the movie.

  7. I think the all capitals papyrus title actually works for the film, while it is a cheap move, it's a cheap move that doesn't look bad at all.

    HOWEVER, the horrible papyrus subtitles within the film were a terrible move. While I was watching the movie all I could think was "These orange papyrus subtitles look so cheap". They could have put the subtitles in boring white Arial font and it would have looked better. The film was still enjoyable though.

  8. the subtitles are what really got to me as well. oh how organic they felt. so raw and natural was the font used in translating dialog which illustrated this primitive culture. (not)

    with a $500,000,000 budget, james cameron- you and your amateur designers disgust me!

  9. I dont know, but I scringe everytime i see the font used for the movie title and subtitles... its really awkward seeing a familiar font in a huge movie

  10. Although I agree that the subtitles should have been used in the usual subtitle font, anything else directed to papyrus on here is really just mac fanboi rubbish.

  11. It certainly looks like they loaded Papyrus into a font editor for an hour and just moved enough of it around so that they didn't have to pay a fee for it.

  12. I just happened upon this site and was wondering if you realized that Sandiego is spelled with an 'e' not an 'a.'

  13. @Anon Uhh Yeah, after it was all said and done, I think you're the first to notice though so shhhh ;)

  14. It's obvious Jim spent his money on the pure concentrated awesome of the planet effects.

  15. Wow I guess you guys hate yourselves every time you have to type in veranda, arial, times new roman, etc etc.

    Because GOD FORBID they are over used even more everwhere everyday in every part of life, media, and the internet.

    You really have to take accounting of the number of times you've seen a font. REALITY CHECK people! What difference does it REALLY make? Maybe you should have been READING the subtitles instead of gawking at the font. (Unless you're claiming you know Na'vi and didn't need to read them, allowing you the luxury of investigating the font)

    Leskxawnga keye'ungìl mì ngeyä eltuti längu!

    Taking a page from Parker Selfridge: "What have you people been smoking out there? They're just goddamn letters!"

    And how exactly is a font OVERUSED in the first place?!? Novelty fonts aside, the top factor for a font is being easy to read. So if a font is being "overused", well hello, a lot of people find it easy to read. In which case it's perfectly reasonable to use it more.

    Why wouldn't someone put an easy to read font for what they want millions of people to read? I guess you would have been happier with WingDings.

    And if this is such a terrible agrivating eye-gouging experience for SO MANY people, could someone please explain to my why there isn't any:

    Sorry for steam-rolling your little bandwagon here but the fact of the matter is y'all's just troll'n.


    /fail convo

    /fail blog

  16. Wow. If you are so offended by this website, then you don't need to be here. This is a website for designers and type nerds alike. We love to discuss the application of typefaces in society. Papyrus just happens to be a poorly designed specimen (in our minds, of course). This isn't a blog about movies. I could see your reaction appropiate if one of us came to a discussion on a movie blog about Avatar and starting ripping it a new one for this reason. However, it isn't.

    So, I suggest you stick to your blogs and us designers will stick to ours. I'm not formally educated in film, aside from a few college classes, so I will refrain from critizing movies. Thus, as an uneducated person about design, you can do the same.

    The end.

  17. "papyrus is readible" fucking really!?

    everyone would love to on using those fonts in a 300-million dollar application

    although they're a bit different.

    Papyrus is not readible,
    we can read it yes, but readability is measured on a scale much more precise than that. If you don't beleive that just remember papyrus is classified as a "decorative font", I shit you not!

    Arial, Times and alike and gorgeous fonts based on classic principals that are so respected they made them default web fonts, right! look it up.

    So papyrus is alone, with comic sans, cooper black and rockwell. bastardized decorative fonts that use can only conjure up the image of a first year design student who thinks that shit can pass as pay-worthy.

    come on, be honest man:

    this makes you the biggest, scariest dick-face in the universe.

    good luck.

  18. Wow, umm, well that about says it i think. Decorative font not super-readable. Plus the whole expensive movie thing...yeah

  19. Papyrus is bad!

    How cum? Please edukate me. I am ignerant not dumb!

  20. My guys just put together a funny commentary on topic, would love your to hear what you think,

  21. Dude. papyrus hit the big screens when Sernity came out.

  22. Gee, who cares? Is this really all you have to do with your lives; criticise? You should create your own font and call it Anal-Sans-Lubri LOL

  23. did someone just say that "Arial" is a beautiful font...?

  24. For those who understand typeface design, yes Arial, and its inspiration, Helvetica, are beautiful fonts that were masterfully designed. If you don't know why, then you don't understand typeface design. And yes, Helvetica would have been preferable to Papyrus by about 1000% as the subtitles for Avatar.

    Why? Because today we would be talking about how much we love our children instead of still venting about the sorry choice that was made in Papyrus. Helvetica would have communicated perfectly without drawing attention to itself, as it normally does when used properly.

    Cameron should have hired a foundry such as House Industries to create a custom typeface that could have served as a distinctive, appropriate, and legible text font for all of the marketing as well as the subtitles.

  25. Arial is a beatifully designed font, perfect for so many usesespecially subtitles, why? because its designed to be so incredibly dull, thats why, sometimes you don't want your attention pulled away from the film so they use it. Although my first use for it was to use it in essays when I was 12 so it looked like I did more work than I had.

    Papyrus is just so cheap looking now, it looks nice, but like the "let the bodies hit the floor" song on youtube military videos, its become very cliché

  26. Whoah whoah, back the truck up. Did an Anon really just say that the Rockwell typeface is down there with Papyrus and Comic Sans?

  27. Where can I download Papyrus... I really like it... Have you guys seen a Bold Version of it... :)
    Its popular because its just awesome... Deal with it...

  28. I hate sites that require to register just to post ONE comment. I love this site.

    And my comment on the font is:

    Some people like the font, some people don't. Others just accept it as is.

    Some people would like to force Cameron to accept THEIR choice. That is unacceptable by others.

    Also, I don't think Cameron did it on his own. I don't think Cameron cared about the font names and possible "overusage". Some poster creator hired for this just wanted to finish the job quickly. It was shown to Cameron and he accepted it because complete visual impression was good. Probably the best, compared to several other samples given by same poster creator.

    For me, it is acceptable too. My personal opinion is: the font is good for this.

    Is it too far? I don't care where ELSE the font is used. It is irrelevant for the poster, and for the movie subtitles.

  29. Gentlemen and Women, I am pleased to announce that I was so touched by Mr. Robert Tiara's long and passionate proclamation of support for Papyrus that I decided he should get, Nay, the man is ENTITLED to, his very own personal mark, as presented in said Font. As a graphic designer, I was able to meet this task, and I have. Please enjoy, and you're welcome Mr. Tiara:

  30. Whoops.. that link didn't work out. Here is the long lost Robert Papyrus:

  31. A very very late reply. I was just scrolling through fonts and had a relevation. The Avatar font appears to be Herculanum, not Papyrus. I haven't seen the movie recently enough to remember if the subtitles were the same, though. Hmmm.

  32. its not herculanum i promise u that

  33. The A's look a lot more like Herculanum to me.

  34. Lots of good input here. my 2 cents:

    People don't like this font not because it's overused but because it's so easily recognizable. I doubt the same people that recognize papyrus can spot out the difference between arial and helvetica so easily.

    There's definitely parts of this font that are Herculanum inspired. It really looks like a cross between the 2 fonts, as if they started with Papayrus and used the accents of Herculanum to make it look unique.

    I think every font has its place, even Papyrus. Yes it does bring along with it the banter of being "cheaply designed" but in the case of Avatar, look at how much buzz a simple font choice has created. This must have been planed out by the producers and for that I tip my hat.

    I can't wait till they open up an Avatar Cafe'

  35. I think it's a papyrus inspired variant of herculanum.

  36. A good logo is distinctive, appropriate, practical, graphic and simple in form, and it conveys the owner’s intended message. professional logo


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