Categories
Elements of Lettering lettering lettering, typography, alphabets, stonework printing Typographic ephemera

Something Rampant for the weekend

Looking through my collection of typography today I came across these images, included in Portfolio Three by The Rampant Lions Press, Cambridge, England, dated 1982. I have written about Will and Sebastian Carter many times throughout the life of this blog so please hit the search key to find out more, or send me an email. Enjoy your weekend. (This was a regular feature of the blog – the last entry can be found here.)

Franklin typeface
Franklin typeface
Rampant Lions Press prospectus
Rampant Lions Press prospectus

 

Categories
Elements of Lettering Typographic ephemera

One week in street lettering

Images from my week. These were taken in Brisbane, Australia. The first at a train station – a nice display of cast letters (heavily covered in paint – be great to see that taken away and the true letters revealed once more) representing Queensland Rail and used as a brace for a seat; the second a metal plate in the road covering services – lovely use of the cross bar in the capital A as a functional element for inserting the rod that will remove the cover for inspection; the third some quirky figures (‘biffo man’) at pedestrian crossing. Great to see such inventiveness.

Metal cast letters in cross frame of a seat.
Metal cast letters in cross frame of a seat.

Metal services covering plate spelling GAS

 

Biffo man/men
Biffo man/men
Categories
Brand design Elements of Lettering lettering printing typography

Ashley Havinden, Ashley Crawford and Neuland

A reader recently identified the typeface I commented upon in this post as being Ashley Crawford, and not Neuland as I had then speculated. Thank you Marvin.

The face was designed by Ashley Havinden, Ashley Havindena noted designer of that period and produced by Monotype as Series 238 and 279 (the later for the plain font). Image from Encyclopaedia of Typefaces, Ashley Havinden_0001Blandford Press, 1953 as in my copy of Specimens of the Type Faces, Borders, Ornaments, Rules and Other Material cast on ‘Monotype’ Type Composing and Casting Machines, The Monotype Corporation, n.d it is not included, although ‘single specimen sheets…may be obtained on application’.

This is another of his works for the London store Simpson, taken from Modern Publicity 1942-48, The Studio Publications.Ashley Havinden_0004

To correct the earlier misinterpretation here is Neuland used in another ad (taken from The Typography of Newspaper Advertisements, Meynell, F, 1929).

Ashley Havinden_0002Ashley Havinden_0003

Categories
Elements of Lettering lettering, typography, alphabets, stonework Thoughts on lettering typography

Fit to be styled a typographer

So wrote Simon-Pierre Fournier (1764) in his Manuel Typographique, a phrase deeply admired by Vincent Steer who I have briefly mentioned previously in the pages of this blog (see here). Steer Steer pic was by training a compositor and as Moran writes in ‘Fit to be styled a Typographer’: A history of the Society of Typographic Designers, 1928 – 1978 sought to be ‘acknowledged as a typographer’.

Let Steer put it his own way (from Printing Design and Layout: The manual for printers, typographers and all designers and users of printing and advertising): ‘A layout which is intended for submission to the customer must, in the first place, be carefully executed. While there is no need for meticulously finished lettering, it should convey a very near impression of the final result in type.’ And he gives this as an example.

Vincent Steer

Vincent Steer_0001

This is an art long lost.

Steer was a founding member and past president of The Society of Typographic Designers, now the ISTD.

Categories
Elements of Lettering

Roman lettercarvers named

It is rare for individuals who carve lettering to be remembered. I have carved a number of public inscriptions in the UK and I doubt anyone in a thousand years time will pause to reflect on the hand behind the cut. I would not expect otherwise. So I was taken aback when browsing Alan Bartram’s indispensable Lettering on Architecture (one of two books that should be on the bookshelf of any serious student of lettering – the other is Nicolete Gray’s A History of Lettering – see here for an earlier post on her) of the revelation that certain monumental inscriptions in Roman can be identified with one Luca Horfei and Matheo de Meli, in or around the late 16th century. Now I would like to write more on these characters, and Nicolete Gray gives a hint as to where to find further information – none other than James Mosley. For those who have not stumbled across that name before take note. He was librarian of the famous St Bride printing library in central London for many decades (until 2000) and what he didn’t know about printing history could…well, it could be written on the back of a postage stamp. He is a legend and I remember visiting that library when I was working in Fleet Street and being awed by the great man’s presence. Of Mosley, and this is a digression, a long one, I quote from Bulletin 32 [page 19] of the Printing Historical Society that I happen to have to hand: ‘After lunch, the company reassembled for James Mosley’s “Morris and the ‘Rugged’ School of Typography”. The most invigorating and original of the day’s offerings, this included a particularly fine and telling sequence of slides and [unscripted] commentary bringing to life an apparently neglected context of Kelmscott typography lying in some of the freehand drawn lettering of its period.’ You get my drift. Anyhow, regarding further commentary on Horfei and de Meli, that can be found in Mosley’s 1964 article ‘Trajan Revived’ printed in Alphabet. However, Gray offers a glimpse when she writes that Horfei followed the style of the writing master, G.F. Cresci, and designed ‘much of the lettering connected with the great town planning works in Rome inaugurated by Pope Sixtus V (1585-90)’ [p.147]. The illustrations below show: Luca Pacioli B; a B based on Trajan from Cresci (1570); and lettering designed by Horfei and cut by de Meli (1588).

Horfei and Matheo de Meli_0001 Horfei and Matheo de Meli

Categories
Elements of Lettering

Christmas Quiz No 1

What is the machine being used and what is going on? Both parts need to be correct…(clue, what is the hand doing?)

Lettering Quiz 2012

 

Categories
Elements of Lettering History of Lettering Thoughts on lettering

‘…humble greeting to all true and devoted Lovers of well-formed Letters’

So wrote Geofrey Tory as introduction to his 1529 volume Champ Fleury, The Art & Science of the proper & true Proportions of the Attic Letters, which are otherwise called Antique Letters, and in common speech Roman Letters.  (All quotes from the 1967 Dover edition of the translation published by The Grolier Club, 1927.) Part two of this book considers the letters and proportions in context of the human body, or, more precisely, ‘compared to those of the natural body and face of the perfect man’. His method is geometry – the circle, square and triangle – and when I was starting out in letter carving I filled my notebook with examples of this system. Why? I forget, for the letters are, to the modern eye, stale, dull and passionless. Nevertheless, there is sometimes need to look back and reflect on how things were once done; maybe even learn something. (Such as to be reacquainted with the nine muses and the seven liberal arts – see page 38 of the Dover edition.) As for Tory (1480-1533), Steinberg writes that ‘… not least of his achievements – [he was] the teacher of Garamond’. (Five Hundred Years of Printing, Penguin, 1955, p35.) The first two illustrations are from the 1967 volume, the last is my effort back in the 1990s.

Categories
Elements of Lettering Thoughts on lettering

Fascinating facsimile

These pictures come from 1948 – predating the internet by some 50 years. Fascinating in its own way since the author (then editor of the Southern Daily Echo of Southampton, UK) believed this was the future. Indeed, in the US, it already was. Even colour pages could be transmitted over radio waves.

The author writes that facsimile ‘could skip all the time-wasting gaps which exist between the actual printing of a newspaper and its delivery in the home. It can take the printing press into the home, as it were, and cut out all the intervening routine of transport and delivery’. How much like the internet.

Except you would need a cabinet (wood veneer of course) and to wait 48 minutes for a six page facsimile of the paper to be ‘downloaded’. In its own way, in its own time, the facsimile was the way of the future.

(Why did this technology develop? The war stupid. ‘From 1939 onwards special war needs in the sphere of telecommunications greatly accelerated progress. One American organisation has declared that its war work telescoped one hundred years of practical experience into three.’

This blog attributes the photos from The Adventure Ahead, 1948, Contact Publications Ltd, London.

Categories
alphabet Elements of Lettering History of Lettering

Edward Johnston, London, handwriting and a bit more

Over the last year or so since this blog has been up and running I can find no mention of Edward Johnston. I don’t know how this can be, given how important he was to the growth of lettering in the early twentieth century and his continuing influence on designers. Let this post be a belated apology for the gap. It starts with this brochure for a book printed in 1994 by the London Transport Museum, called London’s Handwriting. I regret that I did not subscribe but expect the price of 295 pounds was a put off to a struggling hack with a young family and a huge mortgage back then. Google turns up a few references to the volume but I can’t find any for sale through the normal sources (ABE etc). If you hear of one please let me know, or snap it up as it appears to be a fine example of fine printing. 

For those who don’t know Edward Johnston visit the Foundation

http://www.ejf.org.uk/ejf.html

and there’s a fascinating overview here.

http://arts.brighton.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/9975/Lettering—Final-Report–Appendix.pdf

As with many archives, a lot of his stuff is now in the US, at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. As with Gill I’d urge any American readers who live nearby to go visit. For those in the UK a visit to Ditching is a must – just 9 miles north of Brighton. With spring in the air now’s the time…

Categories
Elements of Lettering

Architectural lettering – a lesson from history

Now I am not going to say these two local examples (Murwillumbah, NSW, Australia) are wonderful evidence of type, yet I am always fascinated when I come across pieces like this to consider the architect’s (or builder’s) intentions.

In the case of the Budd sign, probably simple advertising, although it is not easy to see and I have passed by that shop for years now without noting it. In fact, it was only when I was on the balcony of the recently renovated adjacent cinema a few weeks back that I spotted it.

The second example is more intriguing since it is purely decorative.

It reminds me of the illustration taken from Alan Bartram’s wonderful Lettering on Architecture (1975), shown here. I also think of Rome with its multitude of monumental signage, also pictured in Bartram’s text (pp 154-155).

Also see this blog on Ralph Beyer.