TYPE

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WEEKEND LIFE -

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.

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