Design Behind The Mask: Typography in Control

by | Design Behind The Mask

Can we touch on the typographic simplicity of the fantastic game Control? The video game developed by Remedy Entertainment centers around a shadowy government agency dabbling in the supernatural. You play as Jesse, the newly crowed Director of the Federal Bureau of Control, and must uncover the Bureau’s secrets while searching for your missing brother. Wow. So much intrigue.

The typographic simplicity of Control

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The typography of Control strikes an elegant balance between minimalist and menace. The brand typeface Avant Garde Gothic serves as title cards for new areas of the game as well as the logo. The oversized, high-contrast titles infuse the classicly pleasant geometric sans serif with an overwhelming sense of foreboding. Couple it with a fantastic score and a visual design system tailored to unsettling you and you have yourself a winner. If a big ol’ title screen can illicit heart palpitations, you are doing something right (or wrong?) I am also a sucker for a good ligature and Avant-Garde has them in spades. This 1970’s typeface is flush with concatenated letterforms that create very functionally elegant combinations. Just look at that N/T combination in the logotype. Gorgeous.

Supporting type

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The menus and overlays in the game are supported by what I think is either Interstate Condensed or ITC Franklin Gothic. If anyone knows, please let me know. Google failed me in my research, or perhaps I googled the wrong thing. Needless to say, “Fonts used in Control game” gave me nothing. At least nothing I didn’t already know, which is people love Avant Garde Gothic and want to use it for things.

The mix of condensed and normal width fonts helps guide the eye around the map. Granted, the map is a bit hard to digest but Remedy has made updates to make its UX more palatable. The type was never the issue, however. It’s the amount of information present that throws off the balance. The menu type enhances the bureaucratic visual system Control relies on to make the weird happenings more offputting. It’s what I think the Men In Black offices would actually look like, instead of the future orb chairs and all-glass weapons room from the movies.

I love type, especially in games

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Do you have a favorite usage of typography in a game? Let us know what it is. Do you have a game or comic that needs some typographic help? Contact me and let’s make it happen.

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