Earlier this month, a skit featuring SNL star Ryan Gosling re-creating a Papyrus sketch from the show’s opening credits was a hit on social media. But why did it become such a viral sensation? The answer lies in OpenType’s contextual alternates, which allow different versions of each letter in the font.
OpenType’s contextual alternates made it possible to have several variations of each letter in the font.
Depending on your preference, you can either turn off the contextual alternates feature or activate it. The option can be found in your InDesign preferences under Advanced Type, type contextual controls, and type alternates.
For instance, if you select glyph a, you will see an option in the context menu titled Glyph Substitutions. This option will replace the glyph with another glyph. Similarly, if you click on the glyph g, you will see an option in the context panel titled Glyph Substitutions.
These alternatives can be applied globally or to a specific text area. You can also use contextual alternates to make a perfect joint between characters. You can use them at the end of paragraphs, next to punctuation, or at the beginning of a word.
Unlike stylistic sets, contextual alternates can also be applied to copy text. However, the contextual alternates feature cannot be turned on if the text is auto-paginated or if a page break breaks the line. You can toggle on or off the feature in your InDesign preferences if you have an OpenType font compatible with contextual features.
Contextual alternates have been used extensively in script typefaces. For example, you may want to change the shape of a letter or add a flourish to the beginning of a word.
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The skit became a viral sensation.
During an episode of Saturday Night Live dedicated to the Avatar movie franchise, Ryan Gosling was featured in a skit that was part of the show. The sketch was well received and has received more than 17 million views on YouTube.
The sketch was inspired by the “Papyrus” font that James Cameron used for his 2009 blockbuster. The font is a tribal or comic san used in Microsoft Word.
The skit combines randomness with social satire. It’s a bit of a joke, but there’s some charm to it as well. It has become one of SNL’s most popular sketches and has gotten more than 17 million views on YouTube.
In the sketch, a blue-collar road worker secretly talks to another about sexy numbers. It’s a clever and funny take on a familiar situation. The sketch includes an adorable reference to Run-D.M.C. (or rumdnz on Google).
Avatar was a massive box office hit when it first came out, and the Papyrus font was used to help design the film’s logo. The decision to use the font was costly, with Cameron paying $237 million for the movie. The decision to use Papyrus is an odd way to continue the conversation about the Avatar franchise, and it has stayed with viewers for years.
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