With many thanks to Wolfgang Sangmeister.
Posts under ‘Orion Pics’
I still think this is a rather modern looking typeface, even by today’s standards. It’s slightly reminiscent of the wide-running Eurostile typeface, but it’s certainly not any known font. Hand-drawn, perhaps?
According to Josef Hilger, long-time fan and curator of the Raumpatrouille Museum, the titles were indeed drawn by hand. In the mid-sixties, this was probably done with a ruling pen on thick cardboard, then filled in with a brush.
Looking through the titles it becomes clear that the typeface is based loosely on a 5×5 square matrix. At least that’s what it should be based on. But the person who created the type cheated. A lot.
Look at the Raumpatrouille title screen pictured above. It’s much bolder than this title:
Then, even within the same titles, we have a slightly compressed version together with a “normal” version of the typeface.
These are the problems when trying to recreate this particular typeface on the Mac or on any other computer, which of course is a very silly thing to do in the first place. Why would anyone do this?
Because it’s possible, that’s why. And because this has been bugging me since I first owned an Atari Mega 1, which is really long ago. Very long ago, to be precise.
Another version of the typeface surfaced many years ago, probably on Compuserve, which was created by someone unknown and was called “Star Patrol”:
Not bad for a start, but as you can see it looks pretty horrible with all the various line weights and the non-existent kerning.
After a discussion in the Frog Mailing List, I decided to give it a go myself. Anyone who wants to recreate the ‘Raumpatrouille Font’ is faced with the above problems — which version to go with? Also, there are a few characters missing in the titles. For example, I couldn’t find an “x” anywhere, so I had to make it up, along with other ‘missing’ characters. Since there are so many different versions of the various letters in the original, I opted for the square version: a 5×5 matrix for the x-height.
I had to compromise. And I cheated too. Graphic designers always cheat.
I started off in fontstruct (which is great, but also rather limited) for the basic letter shapes, then downloaded the font to open it up again in FontLab, which a friend kindly lent me for the purpose of creating this darn Orion-Typeface.
Adjusting the kerning of pairs.And now it’s all done and from my point of view the best Raumpatrouille font you can get for your computer. And that’s simply because there is no other one. Enjoy.
The typeface is called McLane and you can download it here.
I designed it as an Open Type .ttf and it’s got got the basic Latin and some extended Latin, published under Creative Commons License 3.0, which means you can do whatever you like with the typeface; extend it, change it, or even mess it up completely. I don’t care.
Final copyright is probably still with Bavaria Film.
Enjoy; grab the font and improve it. And if there are any problems, I really don’t want to know. And don’t get me started on the italics:
The story of the Raumpatrouille Orion novels is actually a rather long and complicated one. Which has got nothing to do with what I’m on about, but then why not; let’s submerge ourselves into literary SF history.
The novelisations of the 7-episode TV Series were written by the SF author Hans Kneifel and the first paperbacks were published in 1968 by Moewig Verlag. Here’s the front cover of Planet außer Kurs:
After that, it went on and on. Kneifel wrote 35 of those paperbacks, all of them published with Moewig. Then it all stopped.
Booklets (“Hefte”) were published in the early and mid-seventies, all within the Terra Astra series, again by Moewig. Exactly 145 of those, written by various authors, although Hans Kneifel was still involved:
And in 1990 the first seven episodes appeared as books again, this time published by Haffmans Verlag in Zürich. Fabulously done — a new design, Hans Kneifel himself went through all the old typescripts, added paragraphs where necessary, deleted paragraphs where necessary, inserted more humour; he almost rewrote the old books. What a great edition this was:
Anyway, all of those covers refer back to the television series. Boring. Living in the late sixties, early seventies, what would a book designer have done without using photos or illustrations? So here’s my take on those book covers.
The full set can be seen over at my posterous website.
Subtitles. Well done.