We went back and forth between Futura (Kubrick is well known for his love of Futura), Gill Sans (which was used for the opening title), and a customized Futura, but we never came to a conclusive decision as to what the typeface was.
In recent years, some have even gone to great lengths to analyze all of the typography featured throughout the film (there's a lot of it, and it's all beautiful), but the end credits were somewhat glossed over.
Eventually,, I was contacted by a gentleman who claimed he had just about completed a reconstruction of the typeface for digital use based on the end-credit slates, and sent me the final product.
“Here’s the Space Odyssey font. I did not touch Futura for this one since I had everything I need for the font in the screen captures. One deviation I made from the screen grabs is the height of the A. In the screen grabs, the A is a bit lower than the other letters. I made it touch the caps height, the same as the other letters with the exception of the rouned letters which goes above the caps height and/or below the baseline. Let me know if you find anything that’s not right. BTW is autospaced and is not kerned.”
For those curious, the screen-grabs were sourced from a 1080p version of the film, extracted, and sent as TIFF files to ensure the highest possible quality.
I couldn’t be more excited to share it with everyone. While we may never know the answer to what typeface exactly was used (though we’re pretty confident it was Futura with alternates or custom letters) we at least now have a digital replica for our own personal use.