Walking to the T the other day, I had the opportunity to grab a few frames of some impressive, aeronautical typography.
Five aircraft, flying in unison, drawing bitmapped type in the sky with a precision that—adjusted for scale—rivals the accuracy of many desktop printers. Cool.
I don’t know much about sky-writing, but think about the variables. The aircraft are likely flying at well over 100 mph, and there’s wind, and they have to take perspective into account—which is particularly impressive, considering they’re flying in circles over the city, rather than flying in a straight line.
Aside from being impressed by the technological aspect of the performance, and it was certainly a performance (most people on the crowded sidewalk stopped to look; I heard a number of mumbled “I’m sorry’s”), the type itself was crisp and clean. Engineer’s type. Type rationalized for use at altitude and speed.
But then nature and entropy take over. What was pristine becomes distressed; air currents expand and warp the letters so they are transformed from crisp dashes to soft cotton balls; from the hard edge of technology to the (on that day) gentle corrosion of nature.