The Cosmetic Ultralounge

Trajan: The Font that Makes the Movies!

Why do people get captivated by a movie poster? There is a commonly used font printed on promotional posters for Hollywood films. This font is called Trajan.

Here at Studio Brow, we like people to be familiar with us and in addition get familiar with different topics they may not have known before.

Trajan is an earlier style serif typeface designed in 1989 by Carol Twombly for Adobe Systems.

The design is based on the letterforms of capitalis monumentalis or Roman square capitals, as used for the inscription at the base of Roman emperor Trajan’s column from which the typeface takes its name.

Due to the fact that the inscription and its writing form come from only one case, Trajan is typed using all capitals.

Even though Twombly was the first person to do a literal translation of the Trajan inscription into type, a number of interpretations, with added lowercase alphabets, are dated before Twombly’s.

Particularly Emil Rudolf Weiss’ Weiss of 1926, Frederic Goudy’s 1930 Goudy Trajan, while Warren Chappell’s Trajanus of 1939, while having similar forms for capitals has a markedly medieval lowercase.

In 2001, there was an updated version of the font called Trajan Pro. In the updated version, lower caps are commonly used instead with a more complete set of characters.

Twombly’s cut of Trajan has become largely popular, as seen in its nearly constant presence on American movie posters, television shows and book covers.

For example, Trajan Bold was used for the film poster for Titanic and in posters and promotional material for Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Trajan Pro Bold is used in the titles and captions for The West Wing, for the credits of several films like Interview with the Vampire and Goya’s Ghosts, along with the covers of many John Grisham paperbacks.

Trajan is the official font of Columbia University, Rice University, University of Bologna, University of the District of Columbia, University of Kansas and the University of Rhode Island.

Check back for more soon from Studio Brow.

2 responses

  1. This was very interesting to learn. I had no idea. I like the font! Thanks for this!

    December 6, 2011 at 2:42 AM

    • You’re most certainly welcome! Thanks for reading =)

      December 6, 2011 at 2:08 PM

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