Typographic ephemera

Posters and art

I’m still running at half speed (still no handshake with scanner). In the meantime, this item from the Guardian’s worth a look. Fabulous images of Poster Art from the 60s etc.

What’s more the Guardian doesn’t have a pay wall.



Hiatus in posts

I have to apologise for a lack of posts in recent days. My laptop was nicked at the weekend and in the meantime I am using a back-up which, somehow, refuses to connect with my scanner. Anyhow, I will be resuming a normal service as soon as is possible. So please don’t switch off. Typography is never done and I am never done with typography.

lettering typography

Ralph Beyer and inscriptional lettering: the grand tradition

I have always had a soft spot for the work of Ralph Beyer. I do not know much about the man, and I am sure there are those who can point us in the right direction to discover more. What I do know is that his inscriptional lettering influenced my work. Beyer is particularly well known in the UK for his carvings which adorn (are rather a part of the very fabric) of Coventry Cathedral. The first illustration is from that place, set into the floor (look closely, adjust your eyes and you’ll see people at the bottom of the image to give scale); while the second is a much, much smaller piece.

Both have that freedom yet control which is so natural to Beyer. [Images from Lettering on Architecture, Alan Bartram (1976), Whitney Library of Design; and Fine Words Fine Books (1991), an exhibition catalogue.]

History of Lettering

What is it?

What is it? A clue – it was still in use in the 1980s, just, and is being kept alive by enthusiastic amateurs and a few professionals. This was first published a month ago – and as of today, April 16 – still no answers. Come on folks…..

Brand design

Sinclair ZX81 – hail thee at 30

Not strictly lettering, although the typeface used by this precursor of the modern laptop deserves recognition, belonging to that family suggestive of technological change and ‘modernity’.

It was 30 years ago that this little wonder came on to the UK market. I never had one but I do remember Clive Sinclair appearing everywhere and being hailed a genius.

He went on to design and manufacture a ‘revolutionary’ electric tricycle I think it was. This was an awful failure as a) the battery was puny and lasted no time and b) the vehicle was so low to the ground that motorists could barely see it in their mirror.

Anyhow, hail to Sir Clive and hail the ZX81. The article (see below) also demonstrates how resourceful the Brits can be when challenged.

Follow this link to the BBC article.


Spot the difference – the answers

I know you’ve all been sweating on this, so here are the answers to ‘spot the difference’, as kindly supplied by the man himself, Mortimer Leach. [click on images to enlarge.] It’s all too reminiscent of sitting an exam!



Letterpress and the iPad

Yep. That’s right. A guy in the US is designing an app that allows iPad users to recreate the style of letterpress, even placing ‘type’ in a forme, and then printing the finished product. Not a bad idea. Pity the printed sheet will not have any ‘show through’ or leave that beautiful impression only your fingers can feel when running across the back of the page. Now that’s what I call letterpress. So guys, try figure that out. You’re close but not close enough.

PS: I do not yet have an iPad – but when I do I reckon it’s not a bad app to have. (That was a promo!)

lettering Typographic ephemera

Something light hearted – it’s Wednesday after all

In the words of someone, ‘they don’t make ’em like this anymore’

lettering, typography, alphabets, stonework

Letters on stone – literally

People have asked me to post some more images of pieces I made. To oblige here is a small piece, probably no more than 12 inches long, of an inscription carved into a found stone. The lettering is free to reflect the sentiment of the phrase:

Elements of Lettering History of Lettering

Squared capitals and Caslon

I posted the other day about the book Lettering for Advertising by Mortimer Leach [if you missed it please click here].

This book was written at a time when advertising drawings, in particular the lettering element, were hand-drawn. A time before Letraset.

In the early chapters Leach gives some examples of popular type faces that can be adapted to hand-drawing. I have noted his use of Futura. Now let us turn to Caslon.

In prefacing this he refers to Squared Capitals, as used by the Romans – Trajan Column et al.

This is his drawing of them, and they would be suitable for use in stonecarving as is.