Brand design calligraphy Elements of Lettering Humour lettering Typographic ephemera typography

Something early for the weekend – brand and graphic design

A delightful ad taken from The Library of Advertising,vol 7, Lay-out and Commercial Art, by Charles C Kinights, published 1932.

Lovely titling, wonderful graphic.


Industrial ephemera – walking people

Following up on an earlier post (see here) this road sign covers the lot:

Just got to love the man with the walking stick! [Source: Australia, village of Pottsville.]

History of Lettering lettering Thoughts on lettering Typographic ephemera

The way it was – letterpress

From the 1953 Penrose, among the advertisements, this showing how printing/publishing used to be pre-internet. And that’s only 50 or so years ago. Don’t laugh. Think 50 years from now. They will laugh at our ‘ancient’ technology.

Thoughts on lettering Typographic ephemera typography

Remarkable Book Jacket – revealed

Yesterday I posted a picture of a book jacket, asking for the date of publication. To my eye when I first stumbled across the illustration I had to double check the year, because it looked so contemporary. The fact is it comes from 1936, from the Penrose volume of that year, and was done by Eric Fraser (1902-1983), a British artist known for his work in a whole range of books and magazines.

See another of his illustrations from ten years later here.

calligraphy Elements of Lettering lettering Typographic ephemera typography

Brand typography and Sunlight soap

Lovely example of packaging, which reminds the consumer of heritage, hence the serifed main font, combined with vibrant colours. [In a forthcoming post I want to discuss the letter U.]

calligraphy Elements of Lettering Thoughts on lettering

Helvetica stitched up

This from the Sydney Morning Herald of January 8-9, 2011. Apparently there is a six week course on how to cross-stitch Helvetica in Sydney. Go for it.

Typographic ephemera

Typography and the paper bag – cont’d

I have unearthed three more specimens from the late 1980s. The last from WH Smith is very elaborate, and was used by the company for a long while I seem to remember. Clearly the designer knew a thing or two about using pure typography for design purposes. See, by contrast, a page of typographic flowers from the Monotype Recorder of Spring 1960 which follows. (More on flowers to follow in other posts methinks – and, as always, click to enlarge in new window.)

Thoughts on lettering Typographic ephemera

Typography and the paper bag

My wife returned home from a trip to New York at the weekend. She brought me a present (well, actually I asked her if she could get me them) – a dozen pencils, 2H to 9H, plus Stabilio Aquarellable, ideal for drawing/sketching on slate.

If the pencils were not a gift enough the packaging they came in was a wonderful bonus. A brown paper bag from the art supplier. It’s a great big thumping sans which I can’t quite place – it’s not one of the usuals, Helvetica (because of the C), Univers (the K), Gill (the B,C,K). Any ideas? It’s in a grotesque/gothic style

Anyhow, the present (bag) made me realise that these throw-away items (true ephemera) were once everywhere but have since been replaced, for the most part, with plastic. Being throw-away most don’t think of them as collectible, though I am sure there are many out there who have drawers full of them.

For my part, I began a small collection of printed ephemera in 1987, and here are few paper bag pieces I retain. I wish I had more!

This one I particularly like as it was from a clothing store in the town in the UK I then lived – Sutton, south of London, where this shop shared my name. Got to love the H and the cheeky S – and the brilliant full length use of the J. What type is it? Don’t know again (revealing my ignorance big time today!)

Then of course there was the ‘greatest bookshop in the world’ – Foyles, which I used to visit often as a teenager and young man. It had a reasonable second-hand selection, while the general stacks occasionally offered up gems that had been left unsold for generations: this was the pre-computer stocktaking period.

Various combinations of both sans and serif in use here – including good old Cooper Black, very typical of the 1960s.

Next a little bag from a tobacconist, probably printed by a small jobbing printer. (I used to smoke in those days, a pipe, and this shop held a great variety of loose tobaccos: this bag, though, was probably for purchase of a pipe as it is long and slender.) Use of Gill Sans, which all jobbing printers would have had in stock, possibly hand-set too.

And to round things off a gem from a sandwich bar in central London. I probably bought a sandwich there in the late-1980s but the bag was likely to be unchanged from the 1950s or earlier.