What We Can Learn From SNL’s Papyrus as Visual Artists

Last week, Saturday Night Live debuted a skit about an incredibly specific topic: the font used in the Avatar logo. After a few laughs, it might serve as a cautionary reminder to us all of what can happen when we put in the bare minimum.

In the following video, Ryan Gosling plays a man named Steven, who is haunted by the fact that James Cameron’s Avatar, the 2009 blockbuster that earned nearly 3 billion in the box office, used the Papyrus font for its logo.

Source: SNL Youtube Channel

While the poster for the film was created by the ever-present BLT Communications, there doesn’t appear to be any information on whose choice it was to use the font that ended up not only as the logo, but that also made it into the film’s captions.

What is perhaps a little more bizarre than the fact that they used a font face that was so overused (only second to Comic Sans), is that there was a different logo in earlier teaser / concept posters for the film that could have allowed them to dodge the ire of graphic designers everywhere.

We’ll never know whose decision it was to use Papyrus, but thanks to them, we’ve all been given a mainstream reminder of what could happen when we phone it in.

So when you’re about to hit send on that next commissioned project, perhaps it would be wise to take a moment and reflect on whether or not the work is truly ready for the world.

Making a few more adjustments, double-checking for quality control, or even ensuring that the product you’re delivering is truly complete might just save you from professional embarrassment.


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