lettering typography

Stanley Morison and book jacket design

Stanley Morison is one of the giants of 20th century  English typography, a man whose influence is felt everywhere, no less than at the Monotype Corporation where he was typographical adviser for many years. His death in 1967 prompted that company to issue a special edition of its ‘house magazine’, the Monotype Recorder, for the Autumn of 1968 from which these illustrations are taken.

The first illustrates one of Morison’s flamboyant book jackets for Victor Gollanz, publisher and left-wing advocate. Though undated it is probably from the early 1930s and demonstrates his approach in using the cover as an advertising tool for the text. The colours were chosen to make the book stand out from the crowd, a method that could well be used today – much more effective than a bland photo. (See my blog here on modern book jackets.)

The title page from the Recorder is a wonderful example of restraint. The typeface is Barbou, series 178, which has an interesting genesis as being the heavier, and Morison’s preferred, version of Fournier when first cut in 1924. For more on this see Carter (1987), Twentieth century type designers, p.34.

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