The Horrify Me Logo

Horrify Me logo

Every logo has a backstory. Here's ours!

When I was deciding how to design the Horrify Me logo, I settled on using just type with no icon or graphic logo. I’ve been a graphic designer for most of my working life and I take type seriously. I’m not a fan of “novelty” fonts, and so I didn’t want to use a “horror” font, such as the many spooky Halloween fonts which show blood splats or drips running from letters, or weird fonts that have grunge woven into the letters. These fonts, often called display fonts, have their uses and can look great when used appropriately, but I didn’t feel that they were for me. Instead, I wanted to choose a classic, coherent font which accurately expressed the “mission” of Horrify Me without resorting to novelty.

Font choice isn’t always just a matter of choosing something that “looks cool”. Often, the visual style of the letters communicate to the viewer beyond the mere syntax of the word that is formed by the letters. There’s actually nothing wrong with picking a font that simply “looks cool” and this is sometimes the approach taken even in the most serious design work, but quite often the process is more complex and more meaningful than simply being "cool".

Logo Styles

I did of course try all kinds of fonts, including some of my less-favoured novelty fonts, just to see how it would look. I’m actually a fan of Futura, Goudy and Helvetica, and I expected one of these to win out. But these fonts were just favourite choices and didn’t really communicate the “mission” of Horrify Me in any meaningful way, which was something that I definitely wanted to be a visual feature of the logo type. The purpose of Horrify Me is to create scary horror portraits of people using horror makeup and photography, so how could I express this using a standard font? It occurred to me that the “mission” of Horrify Me was actually to make people look like horror movie characters. While I don’t run a film studio, all the inspiration and creative cues come right from the silver screen, and understanding this gave me the answer. The font should express some sort of connection to movies. Once I had a grip on this, the font choice became obvious!

Trajan Movie Posters

I chose to use Trajan Pro Bold as the font for the Horrify Me logo. Trajan has been used on many hundreds of film posters and has been the go-to font for countless movie marketing ads, in every genre. From the early 1990s to the present day, Trajan has appeared on many of the film posters that you will have seen. Lord of the Rings, Titanic, Sex and the City, Interview with the Vampire, The Conjuring, Rogue One, the list is vast. Trajan earned the nickname of “the movie font” and provided me with an interesting way to express the whole philosophy of Horrify Me in one simple type style. This font choice provided a subtle, almost subliminal connection between Horrify Me and the world of films by adopting a style that is highly associated with movies, and in particular a lot of horror films.

Trajan Movie Posters

It is said that Trajan invokes a sense of quality and “seriousness” in film poster marketing. The font was commonly used on many big movies during the 1990s and 2000s, including historical epics, serious dramas, and popcorn blockbusters. Obviously the font has become a cliché these days and has found a home amid more low budget and independent titles, including, of course, quite a few horror flicks.

Horror film titles

Our font choice is by no means "in your face". It isn't a "classic era" Hollywood style, it doesn't use visual prompts or clues to clapperboards or film strips, it doesn't suggest cameras or photography, and indeed it doesn't even invoke a sense of horror or suggest any sort of Halloween theme. There's no grunge, no blood drips, no skulls embedded in the style. Trajan is just a pretty basic (but admittedly very elegant) font based on Roman square capitals. Its prolific use on film posters has been fascinating and it was this, and only this, which prompted its use for the Horrify Me logo. It connects the activity of Horrify Me with the world of films in a way that is subtle, but meaningful.

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