Inspired by Italian Rationalist architectural lettering, Salvo Nicolosi’sTelegraficois a typeface that ticks many of the aesthetic boxes that appeal to designers: uniform stroke weight and letter widths, sharp apexes (AMNVW), and circular rounds (CGO). Unfortunately, those who eagerly snag the free font soon discover that Telegrafico is a hobbyist effort, not really suited for professional design. Not only does it lack a lowercase, accented characters, and even punctuation, but many of the existing caps are in need of a skilled designer’s touch. The geometry is not optically corrected, for instance, and the diagonal stroke weights are inconsistent. Those seeking Telegrafico’s characteristics are better off springing for pro options like VF Sans, Telefon, DTL Nobel, Neutraface, Mostra, Verlag, Relay, or the newly released Apres.
Still, Telegrafico is undeniably attractive to lovers of Art Deco and Geometric sans serifs, who flood Nicolosi’s deviantART page with requests to use it commercially. One of those designers who recently employed Telegrafico for professional work was Korean motion graphics specialist, Sangdon Lee, who picked it for the moody opening title sequence of the 2013–14 sci-fi flick Snowpiercer.
To make Telegrafico function in these titles, Lee had to invent his own hyphens, quotes, and diacritical marks (or borrow them from another font), and he replaced the very mechanically constructed Telegrafico ‘S’ with one from another typeface, possibly Akzidenz-Grotesk.
Despite these compromises, it’s easy to overlook the type’s faults at this small size, and it does its job remarkably well, serving as a sort of post-apocolyptic industrial techno-glitch. The subtle shadow overlays, referencing the view from a moving train, are a nice touch. Watch the clip here.
I remember talk of a souped-up Telegrafico being used for the pretty prominent titles cards in 2012's Looper. This time, somebody crafted a set of numbers to accompany the existing glyphs. A whole lot of work considering there are complete typefaces that might do a similar thing.