Categories
Brand design lettering Typographic ephemera

Be seated – record covers and typography

Hello again. It has been a while since the last post for which I offer no explanation except for life getting in the way of blogging. I thank all readers, regular and irregular, for continuing to step by on their way through the swamp that is the internet.

Recently, while at a local cafe, I came across this record sleeve (undated) among bric-a-brac for sale in a back room. I think it terrific. See how many typefaces you can identify. (Note – I have yet to play the record on my new Sherwood PM-9805 turntable.)

Typography
Typography

 

Categories
History of Lettering typographers

Mr Frederic W Goudy’s ‘curves are perhaps too round and soft’

It’s always a joy to pick up a book, any book, and find a colophon describing the typeface used in the publication. This most recently happened to me when I bought a copy of Geoff Dyer’s novel Out of Sheer Rage (Canongate Books, 2012). The typeface selected for the edition is Goudy Old Style, Goudy lettering_0001designed, it is noted, by ‘Frederic W Goudy, an American type designer, in 1915. It is a graceful, slightly eccentric typeface, and is prized by book designers for its elegance and readability’.

OK. Slightly eccentric took me to my bookshelves to see what others have written about Mr Goudy. What does Updike have to say? He writes of Kennerley, Goudy lettering another of the designer’s faces commissioned in 1911 by Mitchell Kennerly: ‘[it] is a freely designed letter which has been much praised in many quarters. Its capitals are excellent but the lower case roman, except perhaps in 10-point, seems to “roll” a little; and, as was said of another of Mr Goudy’s types, “when composed in a body, the curves of the letters – individually graceful – set up a circular, whirling sensation that detracts somewhat from legibility. That is to say, the curves are perhaps too round and soft, and lack a certain snap and acidity”.’ (Printing Types, vol II. 2nd ed, 2nd printing, 1937.)

My Oh My. They were savage critics back in the twentieth century.

What has Carter to add? ‘Goudy died in 1947,’ he concludes, ‘heaped with honours…His faces are not widely used for the setting of books: they do not fulfil the customary demands of reticence for such purposes. But for displayed work and advertising design they have always been deservedly popular’. (Twentieth century Type Designers, 1987.) Carter also notes how Goudy made a new fount, that is cutting the matrices by hand and giving them to Updike the same day – Updike having called for lunch (this was 1933) and complaining he couldn’t find the right size or style for a title page he was then designing. Now that’s what I call a good lunch.

Another writer, BH Newdigate, says of Goudy’s Kennerley face (this written in 1920): ‘…[it] is perhaps the most attractive letter which has been placed within the reach of British and AMerican printers in modern times.’  Times change.

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
History of Lettering

New Year’s Quiz – final (and a little late)

Who is this?

RK photo

Answer below

Screen Shot 2014-01-01 at 5.55.04 PM

 

Incidentally, the main image of Koch, taken from Book Design and production (1959), gives the date of the photograph as c1938. This is clearly incorrect as Koch died in 1934. Perhaps 1928 was meant?

Categories
typography

Bit more Johnstonia

Can’t have too much. These black and white illustrations from a book on London I picked up from a secondhand shop over Christmas.

More Johnston_0001

More Johnston
Underground poster
Categories
lettering typography

Minimalism in Title Page Design

An example from a 1955 Penguin. First the Title Page in Bembo – would any designer have the courage to do so much with so little today? Followed by a beautiful contents page and then the Cover – using type to tell/sell the story.

Robert Graves Myths_0001

Robert Graves Myths_0002

Robert Graves Myths

 

 

Categories
lettering, typography, alphabets, stonework printing Thoughts on lettering

Something essentially typographic for the weekend

This cover is from Graphics World magazine, dated Nov/Dec 1988. The designer was Phil Baines, about whom click here for more. 1988 was an interesting period with computer typography still in its infancy. The issue notes in its editorial: ‘…fuelled by advances in computer technology which promise (even if they do not always deliver) to bring the process of typesetting completely within the designer’s control, typography is firmly back in fashion’. Twenty-five years later, is that still the case do you think?

Categories
lettering, typography, alphabets, stonework

Will Carter: typographer, designer and letter carver

He was all of the above, and letterpress printer and wood engraver as well. Will Carter (1921-2001) was part of that great flowering of artist-craftsmen in the UK post-WW2. He designed Monotype Klang and collaborated with another 20th century master of the chisel, David Kindersley, in Octavian.

These illustrations are from Carter’s Caps (1982). He writes: ‘The wood used is what is sold in DIY stores for shelving and consists of mahogany veneer on a chip board base.’  Of the R he writes: ‘A more obvious nod towards Trajan, with its strong tail coming out of the bowl. The placing of this, like the proportion of the bowl itself, can make or mar the letter, which, at its best, can be most satisfying of all…’ Of the B: ‘Gill used to liken the lower bowl of a young gill’s buttock – the way it hangs gently’. [Enough said.]

Categories
printing Thoughts on lettering

Definition of printing…(and a note on Joanna)…

 

…’the art of making dents in paper or other impressible paper.’

So wrote Eric Gill in ‘A Glossary of Terms Relating to Printing’, 1934 – set in Joanna and part of A Specimen of Three Book Types.

For some more terms enlarge this page.

Regarding Joanna. Designed 1930 and cut by HW Caslon. Used by Hague and Gill at their press until the Aldine Press, Letchworth, UK, obtained the right to use it, because Gill needed the money. It was used in the Aldine Bible between 1934-1936. In 1939 the face was made available to Monotype, series 478. The face was named after Gill’s youngest daughter who had married Rene Hague, partner in Hague and Gill printers, based in a barn at Pigotts, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. [From The Monotype Recorder, 41, 3, 1958; Book Design and Production, 1,3, 1958.)

Illustration showing Gill’s drawing for Joanna italic (1930 and 1931).

 

Categories
History of Lettering

John Peters, some further thoughts, especially on Fleet Titling

Back here I wrote about John Peters. Today I write about his design of a Monotype face called Fleet Titling, loosely based on Ehrhardt capitals. The company found it useful back in the late 1960s for its signage.