opened in June, and closely look at all the signs you may notice that each is not only in both English and China, but that they also bear similar typographical characteristics.
In Treasure Cove, where pirates of the Caribbean battle for the sunken treasure, the hieroglyphs on the logo are as if they were written by quill on parchment.
In Tomorrowland, where tourists ride a light cycle in the science fiction action-adventure film Tron, the characters are presented in a high-tech digital style, italicized as if they, too, are in a rush.
Most of the Chinese typefaces used on the signs in Disneyland Shanghai are designed by Makefont, a typeface studio in Weifang, Shandong province, that employees about 10 people.
“When Disney released the animation Alice in Wonderland in China in 2010, the Chinese translation on the poster used a fairly plain typeface,” says Ding Yi, the founder of Makefont.
“Out of pure interest I designed a new one for it, giving those Chinese characters a feeling of bizarre, curly tendrils to match the English font and Tim Burton’s gothic style.”
Ding put his remake of the poster online, and people at Disney took note. Two years later, when Ding bid for Disney’s localization project for its signage in Shanghai, he won.
Over the past four years Makefont has designed about 100 different typefaces for the logos used in the theme park.
It was an art class in middle school that let Ding to become a typeface designer.
“I can still remember the teacher showing us how to write decorative Chinese characters,” says Ding, who dropped out of high school and started designing commercial logos in the 1990s.
He bought his first computer in 1998 and taught himself web design. He later worked for sohu.com in Beijing as a designer.