The Museum of Modern Art in New York had announced the acquisition of 23 digital typefaces for its collection including our typeface, Mason. Considering MoMA had only one digital typeface in its collection, this is significant recognition for the field of digital typographic design. The typefaces were chosen by a panel of experts, who based their decisions on such criteria as aesthetics, historical relevancy, functionality and social significance.
Barnbrook originally called this typeface Manson (after American serial killer Charles Manson) "to express extreme opposite emotions—love and hate, beauty and ugliness," he has said. Its distributor, Emigre, Inc., suggested the name be changed to Mason, as the letterforms also evoke stonecutters’ work, Freemasons’ symbology, and pagan iconography. In its design, Barnbrook said, he was influenced by nineteenth-century Russian letterforms, Greek architecture, and Renaissance bibles; the font also displays many references to popular culture, politics, and typographic history. Mason’s postmodern attitude is undeniable and like Neville Brody's Blur (also in the collection), Mason emerged during the explosion of digital typefaces in the early 1990s, both products of the technological and cultural influences of the time.
Mason has quickly become a much used and copied font. Based on drawings made in Barnbrook's sketchbooks over a number of years with added inspiration from 19th century russian letterforms, greek architecture and renaissance bibles. It has been used all over the world by companies such as the BBC and Walt Disney to give an ecclesiastical feeling to their graphics.
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It’s always interesting to spot another use of one of our fonts. Recently we’ve noticed that the publicity for an upcoming film release Dorian Gray has been featuring Mason. The British film is an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s 1891 novel The Picture of Dorian Gray and stars Barn Barnes and Colin Firth, amongst others.
We weren’t responsible for the poster designs for the film, and we were reminded of a similarly styled poster for another film The Golden Compass which also features our Font Mason.