Noticed Trailers Looking Different? Here’s Why.

Slate's Culture Blog
June 11 2013 9:02 AM

Have You Noticed Trailers Looking Different?

If you’ve gone to the movies or watched a new trailer online in the last month, you might have noticed that the trailer tag—the green screen full of text before the trailer proper starts—looks a little off lately. “Why does this look so weird?” you might have thought. What have they done with our comforting "The following preview has been approved for all audiences"?

trailer_comparison2
The old trailer tag.

Screengrab from YouTube

trailer_comparison
The new trailer tag.

Screengrab from YouTube

A few of us in the office got to wondering what was up with these changes, and so we carried out our duty as journalists: We contacted the Motion Picture Association of America. The MPAA informed us that the design change was part of their new “Check the Box” campaign, which emphasizes the rectangle on the bottom half of the trailer tag, which contains not just the rating but a brief description of any objectionable content. The box lets you know if the movie has things like “language,” “sexy dancing,” or “intense depiction of very bad weather.” The MPAA also removed the drop shadow behind the text, and made some font-size adjustments to emphasize that the preview has been “approved,” rather than the fact that it’s a “preview.” (Most people probably know that a preview is coming, so this last change makes some sense.)

But mostly what caught our eye was the font. It looked more—as one colleague put it—“Wes Anderson-y.” A typeface enthusiast in the art department pointed out that the type was not Anderson’s signature Futura, but appeared to be Gotham, another sans-serif typeface popular in recent years and closely associated with, among other things, Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

When we asked the MPAA about the typeface, they said that it was “Myriad Pro, which is a slight alteration from the previous version” and explained that they believe “the change presents the information on screen more clearly.” When we asked them if they were sure about the typeface, because it really looked like Gotham, they told us that we were right, it was Gotham. (Actually, they first told us that we were right, it was “gothic,” but later confirmed that that was just a typo.)

So is the new design any good? It may take some getting used to, but it does seem like an improvement over the old design, which was maybe starting to look a little dated. At the very least all those who edit fake trailers now know what font they should begin to use: Gotham. Definitely Gotham.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Video

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

Subtle cues from FedEx, Amazon, and others.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

A No-Brainer Approach to Fighting Poverty: Better Birth Control

  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 16 2014 11:56 AM Iran and the U.S. Are Allies Against ISIS but Aren’t Ready to Admit It Yet
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 12:43 PM Middle-Class Incomes: Still Dead in the Water
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 12:30 PM How Steven Moffat Made the Best Doctor Who Episode in Years
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 12:33 PM Slate Exclusive: Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 16 2014 7:30 AM A Galaxy of Tatooines
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.