Typography of the (Past) Future

A phenomenon which has long fascinated me are visions of the future from the past. Since we’re now well into the second decade of the 21st century, we’re living in what has been considered the future for, well, all time up until now, I suppose. More to the point, though, when I was a kid–which was squarely in the time of the Apollo space missions–there was a good deal of speculation about what the future might hold, and it was entirely implicit that anything after the year 2000 was definitely the future. So, now that we’re living in what used to be the future, it’s interesting to look back at what we used to consider futuristic. The 1939 World’s Fair is possibly my favorite example, but obviously any number of science-fiction books and films are also artifacts of speculation. The film 2001: A Space Odyssey was possibly the most influential on me since I saw it at a somewhat tender age and it was (I think) the first sci-fi film I ever saw. (In fact, the first time I was taken to it–by my parents, at a drive-in, when it first came out–was too tender an age. The opening scenes of early humans frightened me so badly that my parents had to take me home.) read more