Fonts for Games

Ray Larabie is a video game typographer. Yes, that's an actual job. As Tyler Cowen likes to say, there's a market for everything, and Ray Larabie, formerly an art director for Rockstar Games, carefully tailors fonts to emphasize the moods and tones of particular games. Recently, Robert Quigley of Geekosystem sat down to interview him about his craft:

What makes video game type good? What makes it suck?

Thematic and visual inconsistency makes game type suck. I see lots of games with cool box art; you load up the game and it looks like it came from another company. Then some games have cool in-game nice stuff and lame-o box art. I think a lot of that comes from marketing and game development no cooperating enough. While, it does happen, it’s rare that a game art director knows fonts. It’s not just about having taken a typography course, but actually being up-to-date on what’s cool and what’s not. A good art director in marketing knows very well that Bank Gothic is inappropriate in a futuristic sci-fi context. It’s fine for a cowboy or steampunk game, not for space. A game art director might think it looks kind of spacey so in the game it goes. Nobody feels strongly enough about it to replace it and that’s not the marketing designers job anyway. So there it stays.

I had no idea so much thought and effort went into typography in games.

Link | Image: Rockstar Games

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