Typography Could've Saved the Oscars

Typography Could've Saved the Oscars

The Oscars 2017 will always be remembered because of the massive screw-up involving the wrong envelope for Best Picture. We all saw the astonishment on Jordan Horowitz’s face when correcting the mistake and thought how could this actually happen.

Having been shown the envelope for proof, we can see the mistake was actually very easy to make. There was a complete lack of typography and information hierarchy used. Designer Brandon Jameson has done us the favour of remaking the Oscars award card to more reasonable specifications.

He’s replaced the Oscars logo with the category, in lean sans-serif letters, to enable it to be the main focus. "Putting the category in large type at the top assures the presenter they have the correct card, and cues them up to what they’re going to say," Jameson informs. "But the category type is lighter weight, so even though it’s larger, it doesn’t steal any thunder from the winner's name, which is bolder than anything else on the card."

The winner remains almost identical (just slightly bolder) but what highlights the title more is the names below have been uncapitalised and changed to a serif font. This helps divide the information and avoid any confusion.

Finally, the Oscar logo is then moved to the bottom of the card and shrunk down. "I hate unnecessary logo placement," he says, "and this one was taking up valuable real estate on the card."

Reviewing the before and after cards, you can imagine that the Oscar error would have never happened had Warren Beatty been given Jameson’s amended version. This is a great example of how effective typography can make all the difference when providing information. Something, as designers and creatives, we can all appreciate.