In Olympic Opening Ceremonies, Small Victory for Futura Bold Italic

Sure, there were the 15,000 performers, including 2,008 drummers in “Fou Formation,” glowing fairies, and adorable children singing at that pitch that renders any song both eerie and heartbreaking. There was the gigantic glowing globe that took a year to design and construct and was a dead ringer for the AT&T logo. There were miles of LEDs, constant pyrotechnical flourishes, and a performance of movable type printing that would have given Gutenberg a heart attack, all set against a spirited battle of Claritin vs. Zyrtec that raged during commercial breaks. But amidst all of the excitement of last Friday’s Olympic opening ceremony, we zeroed in on the sole appearance of English text as it flashed on the massive screen that welcomed the world to Beijing.

The fateful moment came during the post-countdown part of the ceremony, when the Confucius-inspired welcome greeting appeared first in Chinese, then in English, and then in both languages. What typeface made the cut? Futura Bold Italic, of course. We struggled to find a decent video of the scene, but the below amateur one will give you a flavor. Look sharp around 3:25, right before they cut away to a shot of Barbara Kruger grinning. (OK, maybe we imagined that last part. Pass the Claritin.)