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‘Papyrus’ Creator Defends Font After ‘SNL’ Skewers ‘Avatar’

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No subject is safe from SNL, but the creator behind the “Papyrus” font certainly never thought they’d send Ryan Gosling after him. Following this past weekend’s premiere Avatar sketch, the designer stepped up to defend his creation as “a well-designed font.”

This past Saturday’s Season 43 premiere brought with it a digital short in which Gosling’s character fixates on the Avatar franchise’s use of Papyrus lettering, likening the selection to “a thoughtless child wandering by a garden, just yanking leaves along the way.” News of the impending sequels leads Gosling to confront the designer, who taunts him from the window.

Word of the viral sketch inevitably reached Papyrus font creator Chris Costello, who enjoyed the spoof, and revealed a bit of the font’s history to CBS:

I designed the font when I was 23 years old. I was right out of college. I was kind of just struggling with some different life issues, I was studying the Bible, looking for God and this font came to mind, this idea of, thinking about the biblical times and Egypt and the Middle East. I just started scribbling this alphabet while I was at work and it kind of looked pretty cool.

Costello acknowledged that the font has become somewhat overused and derided by those in the industry, though he stands by it:

I really think – and again if I can take this time to apologize to my brother and sister graphic designers. I’m a graphic designer as well, I’m an illustrator … I believe it’s a well-designed font, it’s well-thought [out].

For what it’s worth, the SNL bit doesn’t seem to hate the font, so much as a billion-dollar film making a generic logo with it, but we’ll likely have our patience tested when the sequels spread Papyrus once more. In the meantime, stay tuned for more on Season 43 with Gal Gadot and Kumail Nanjiani in the coming weeks.

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