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Thoughts on lettering Typographic ephemera

Travelling Penguin

This is the time of year people travel. Over here in Australia distances are vast and travelling can take days not hours. Nevertheless, we all need to take clothing with us, though these days rarely a rifle. This illustration comes from a Penguin of 1939 (fourth impression) so I guess may be excused.

20_01_01_Penguin travelling
Penguin goes travelling in 1939

If you liked this post do have a look at my archive for more on Penguin and advertising. Such as this from 2012 Advertising and Penguin books.

Categories
Brand design Humour lettering, typography, alphabets, stonework stone Thoughts on lettering

Corsets and Mourning

What’s the link? Well, on the side of this magnificent building in central Sydney, Australia [built 1908] are adverts for both items: corsets and mourning [costume I presume]. A wonderful incidence of unintended humour. Or was it intended? We may never know. I invite comment on the lettering style, as well as matching stories.

Corsets and Mourning
On the side of the former Mark Foy’s Emporium, Sydney, Australia.
Categories
lettering Thoughts on lettering Typographic ephemera

Never too late on the street

Piece of street typography taken from a train parked at Ashfield, Sydney, Australia. I present it as a record only since in a few years, who knows, this building may have been demolished or new ownership may have erased the lettering.

never-too-late
Never too late: street lettering from Australia
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
Brand design lettering typography

Such poor typography, such poor design

This is truly appalling. The company behind this atrocity is The Coffee Club. How many indiscretions can you make out? It starts with the miserable lower case w, is exacerbated by the clumsy joining of the h and the m (this is most definitely the work of someone not trained in typography), and crowned by the (deliberate?) religious cross of the lc t. I will not even go there with the question mark, of which it must go down as probably the weakest example since moveable type was set rolling. Let me lay myself down in a darkened room….(Can a reader advise as to the name of this monstrosity of a font.)

coffee club signage

 

PS – there are many other issues with this signage. Feel free to add your comments. It might make a good assignment for a first year graphic design course: “In no more than 1000 words indicate the faults in this piece of typography and indicate how you would improve it”.

Categories
Brand design

Archaeology of the tea bag – a study in waste

Many years ago now I was an archaeologist. I studied academically and went into the field though I never practised the art. However, I maintain a fascination in the process of discovery through the peeling back of layers, and by the peeling back the discovery of knowledge.

This too can be done with something at first sight as mundane as the tea bag, or, more strictly, the container in which the tea bag is enclosed. liptons AThere is also something here to be said about the lure of packaging. Why, for instance, do I choose this brand over others on the supermarket shelf? Does the typography draw me in? Consider that nice interplay of calligraphy in the tail of the y in Quality embracing the word tea. Ah, I can smell the blackness of it already. Maybe too the way Lipton is nicely announced within a border. It speaks of prestige – a badge fit to be forged in brass and screwed permanently to a wooden chest that once might have taken the tea from its origin in India to the land of plenty and of hope and of demos – England.

But no. It is the colour. That yellow and red captivate the eye. That is why I buy Lipton (also it is one of the cheapest, yet not THE cheapest). Lipton exudes quality. And note, in the top right corner a logo certifying this tea as Rainforest Alliance. liptons BNow what exactly does that mean? Being green in colour this logo must be good. It says this tea has passed certain tests and measures set up by this or that group. I feel good about that too. Why, I have cheap tea (but not THE cheapest) and it is Rainforest Alliance certified. Great.

Wait a moment. As I dig into the packet I find myself confronted by a redundancy of packaging. As an archaeologist I am used to having to peel away layers in search of the evidence I seek. In this case I seek tea. I do not seek cellophane. I do not seek foil. I do not seek more thin card. Liptons C1At each obstacle I rebel. Lipton promotes, as it may, Rainforest Certified tea. Why not also Packaging free Alliance tea?

If like me you are disgusted at the amount of wasteful packaging then please let us begin a campaign. Less packaging, more tress, less landfill, a greener world. Our grandparents managed buying tea loose and in a paper container. Why not us?

liptons D

 

Categories
Brand design Typographic ephemera

An aside on the aluminium Coca-Cola container

In itself this object is iconic. It stands 18cm tall, is as tactile as polished stone and sprayed in gorgeous (and brand) red. The distinctive legend sweeps around the middle. As a sculptural item it is magnificent, and it only cost $2 from my local supermarket here in Australia.CocaCola Aluminium Bottle_0004

However, I lament the waste. Were I to live in South Australia I could expect a 10c refund at recycling points. However, that is  the only State in this country with such a scheme. True, my local council provides recycling bins and I could recycle this empty aluminium container – expect it is too beautiful to discard.

CocaCola Aluminium Bottle_0005I find myself in a dilemma. On the one hand, I admire the thing with a designer’s passion; on the other I curse the waste of a finite raw material: the sheer labour that went into crafting this $2 throwaway; the energy that went into production and getting it from factory to market. And all for what? The contents are hardly sufficient to quench a sparrow’s thirst let alone an adult’s. What then is it for?

It seems yet another example of our contempt for our world: a side-swipe at the less fortunate, a snub at the weak and the poor by a global conglomerate that soaks up resources with negligent ease.

Yet…it sits on my desk as if a tribute. A tribute to what? To the splendour of the imagination. I temper my indignation with the view that at least this container will be preserved and not lost among the millions of others that either fail to be recycled or are, themselves, placed on the shelves and mantelpieces of morally tortured aesthetes.

CocaCola Aluminium Bottle

Categories
Typographic ephemera

New Year’s Quiz 2013 – number one

Simple this. Just deduce what letters are missing from the image. (Taken from an advertisement placed by Grosvenor, Chater & Company Ltd in Book Design and Production, vol 5, number 3, 1962.)

new year quiz 2013

Answer below

new year quiz 2013

Categories
Brand design

The demise of Holden in Australia – a (sort of) typographic memory

This week in Australia Holden (aka General Motors, aka Vauxhall, aka Opal, aka Chrysler) chrysler advertannounced that it would cease production of vehicles in a couple of years.

This brings me to the advert here, reproduced in The Typography of Newspaper Advertisements by Francis Meynell (Benn, 1929). The display type is a variant (I am guessing here so help me out) of Neuland. (See this post December 2014 for clarification and comment below.)

Holden’s going – Chrysler is still around somewhere with its ‘long, low lines – and spacious comfort. Flashing speed – seventy miles an hour and more.’

Have a relaxing weekend.

Categories
Humour Typographic ephemera

Just for fun – Luna Park, Sydney

Some fun typography from a recent visit to Luna Park in Sydney, Australia. The parks, by the way, were created by the American Frederick Ingersoll, and are a forerunner of today’s amusement parks and Disney.

Luna park sydney