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!
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.
These illustrations are from a wonderful book called Lettering for Advertising, by Mortimer Leach, 1956. In those days (think Mad Men) advertising drawings were done by hand. I’ll have more to show from this book in future posts.
Sufficient to show the example from his example of how to draw Futura by hand.
UHU Glue is one of the most distinctive brands around, simple use of black on yellow, strong typeface that underscores the strength of the product. Futura dates back to 1927, designed by German printer Paul Renner during a period when designers were looking at ways to create a geometric sans-serif. It may owe its genesis to work by Edward Johnston and his famous alphabet for London Underground
On launch Futura was criticised as being ‘block letters for block heads’ but over 80 years later it still looks good. According to Alexander Lawson, author of Anatomy of a Typeface (Hamish Hamilton, 1990), for whom I am indebted for the basis of this article, ‘the type became enormously successful and instigated a sans-serif renaissance that quickly spread from Europe to the US’.
It inspired other designers, among them Rudolf Koch who designed Kabel, made public also in 1927. Lawson notes that in the lowercase the ‘e reaches back to the VEnetian period in its retention of the slanted crossbar’ while in the uppercase ‘several letters are unique in having slanted stroke endings’.
As an end note Gill Sans was launched in 1928 by Monotype in the UK but, writes Lawson, ‘the American Monotype firm refused to offer the Gill type for the American market’, which is how Futura became so widely used there.
Not highly scientific this, especially as the question ‘what do you consider the most influential typeface of the 20th century’ is somewhat vague. Define influential, one person commented.
For what it’s worth Helvetica and Univers topped the list,24 per cent each, while Futura put in an appearance among the also rans. Gill Sans notched up 10 per cent, and Times New Roman, Bodoni, Goudy and Caledonia brought in 5 per cent.
Comic Sans turned up too.