alphabet Humour lettering typography

Who loves Helvetica?

I was doing some freelance work at a publishing company the other week and in the office I was sharing was this piece of art on the wall. See here for another Helvy post.

Love the cat.

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.

Thoughts on lettering typography

Typography poll – the results

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.

lettering Thoughts on lettering

Just for friends of Helvetica

An image from the magazine baseline, spring 1991 [Volume 18 no. 1].

[Note: baseline was published quarterly by Esselte Letraset ‘the leading world supplier of type and graphic art material products.]

lettering lettering, typography, alphabets, stonework Thoughts on lettering

Helvetica and Univers lead poll, so far

Surprisingly. Maybe not. I did say the most ‘influential’, so perhaps this is not so surprising. There is plenty of time to vote (closes end of month) and to make things more interesting it would be good to receive feedback as to why some of you consider these sans as being so influential. (A vague word which can be bent to many different meanings.)

I also plan to award a small prize/gift to the most INTERESTING response. This gift will be some goody from my typography collection, and sent post free anywhere in the world.

For those who dislike, even hate, helvetica do follow up on these links. It’s a face that certainly brings out the best and worst in typophiles!

there are many others, but those two give a flavour.

Where are the serif fans? Or was the late 20th century purely straight up and down?


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.