Dave Addey over at Typeset In The Future recently posted an astonishingly in-depth analysis of all the typography and text graphics in Alien - and if you've ever been intrigued by the world of Xenomorphs, it's an absolute must-read.
Addey's thorough essay covers everything from the films use of 'Foreshadowing Inventory' in its opening, to the set design's use of the Semiotic Standard (made for Alien by Ron Cobb), and of course, the oodles of different type fonts used through the movie in establishing its now-retro futuristic setting. Perhaps most interestingly is what Addey discovers about the keyboard Ripley has to use when initiating the process of destroying the Nostromo:
The keyboard itself has many Sanskrit words (or words derived from Sanskrit) on it, as well as references to Hindu philosophy - in turns out that when making it, designer Simon Deering was reading a book called The Secret Doctrine by Helena Blavatsky, which sought to explain the origin of the universe through the lens of Hindu teachings on the cyclical nature of existence, and he found inspiration from it for the bizarre keyboard's design. Heady stuff for the keyboard you use to potentially blow yourself up - and any nearby nasty Xenomorphs, of course.
The whole essay is an interesting interpretation of the movie through its use of text - I heartily recommend giving it a read over on Addey's site.
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