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Two steps forward, one step back

Avatar franchise gets a new logo (that drops Papyrus)

When director James Cameron released Avatar in 2009, it quickly became a huge success, raking in nearly A$4 billion in box offices worldwide, and supplanting Cameron’s own Titanic as the highest-grossing film of all time. Avatar ushered in groundbreaking cinematic technologies, including new motion capture techniques and advancements in stereoscopic filmmaking. But despite its tremendous production values, Cameron and co. made a curious decision to use the Papyrus font for the film’s logo – one of the most loathed fonts of all time.

Old Avatar logoNew Avatar logo

Just last year, the design choice was parodied in a Saturday Night Live sketch where an insomniac Ryan Gosling obsesses over it, eventually stalking the fictional version of the designer at his home and screaming in the rain. Well it looks like things will be different for the upcoming sequels as Cameron’s production company has quietly updated the franchise’s logo across its social media accounts. The new version swaps Papyrus for a (possibly custom) font which builds on the “A” graphic that was first introduced alongside Cameron’s announcement of the third, fourth and fifth sequels back in 2016.

Use of the Papyrus font to subtitle the language of the Na'vi race
Use of the Papyrus font to subtitle the language of the Na’vi race

While the logo may have changed, it remains to be seen whether the sequels’ subtitles – as set in Papyrus in the first instalment – will be revised too. Despite the general opinion, I didn’t mind the use of the infamous font for the film. It had an ancient, tribal feel which may have seemed tacky to others but was perfectly appropriate for the mood of the film as far as I was concerned. (I promise you, I will never feel this way about Papyrus ever again!) Looking at the new logotype, while it echoes those natural qualities in its own way, I just can’t get past the poor kerning. Oh well, there’s still plenty of time to fix that.