One step above a review copy. A work in progress.
Everything on the following pages, up to number 207, was originally published to wordpress then later the-project.tumblr.com where .EPS files could be downloaded for use under creative commons license via CloudApp. The site was left to go fallow. Little has been changed, certainly no copyediting save one or two longer segments cut to fit. There are sure to be guesswork errors in historical fact, terminology, grammar, and spelling.
Text is copyright ÂŠ 2020 by Robb Ogle All rights reserved.
Published under creative commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0) Washignton, D.C. United States
By Robb Ogle
Wordmarks from a private stock of predigital lettering scoured from low resolution archives, personally converted to bezier outlines by Robb Ogle for use by todayâ€™s graphic designers who appreciate the wonky shapes of yesteryear.
These wordmarks, not fonts, sorry.
001 Sorry, I can’t recall which boat movie’s title I swiped this screen shot from.
002 Sorry, I canâ€™t recall which lusty fuschia movie title I swiped this screen shot from.
003 From a long-since-forgotten (by me) nautical film? A jaunty travel adventure? I leave just the block shadow, allowing the negative spaces to define the letters and to let all the smart young things figure out what sort of textured background breaks its slab seriffy legibility in use.
004 This particular bit of stretched quaint ugly was used on several films, perhaps a standardized “The End” title for Golden Age Paramount’s factory production schedules. Something for when the budget ran out or a comedy director just didn’t care, stock was fine. Either way, the it throws its weight around. Serif brackets don’t match, terminals don’t match, the “e” is just a happy go lucky mutant far too wide for the skinnier letters to its left.
005 Wherever I grabbed this gem from, it was doubtless a comedy title, back from when “zany” was still in ad men’s arsenal, possibly even “madcap.”
006 A bit of deco 3D, possibly from a Laurel and Hardy film, but one UPPERCASEÂš was kind enough to feature in its second issueÂ˛. 1 http://shop.uppercasegallery.ca/ 2 http://houndofthe.com/random/uppercase/
007 A potentially seasonal offering this time around as it approaches blackletter but seems to stay clear of anything too illegible and old world, all beveled and cheerful instead. Itâ€™s too stubby to be threatening, I imagine this was the Hollywood lettererâ€™s mass market blackletter softening, equivalent to the web 2.0 balloon sans logo trend. I believe it was swiped from a rollicking swashbuckling film where men were men, bandits were dueled, women swooned, and none of the period costumes were stained with period grime. The downloadable .EPS file is separated into four grouped pieces for your polychromatic fancy: outline and drop shadow, fill, bevel highlight, bevel shadow.
008 I’ve seen several variations of the similar brush lettered “the”s with the crossover. They seemed to be a default and were almost always drawn quite small. Now the poor thing can scale larger and take center stage. There’s just enough wiggle in the shapes to make any “mistakes” attempting to paint straight lines a warm “feature” instead. Typographic spin.
009 A mystery Hollywood two color inline script, enjoy.
010 This oneâ€™s Mystery military comedy brush lettering flavored. Strokes may be over corrected, but I definitely felt the entry and end points needed a bit more brushkissed flair. Enjoy.
011 Quick and looped and sure-handed.
012 The preservationist in me said leave the bad spacing, the user in me suggests you kern that â€œTHâ€? with blatant disregard to history. Enjoy.
014 More two color goodness. I’ve never much liked this calligraphic cap form of “T”, it’s too close to the “J”. Not running the top stroke across the stem seems too un-“T”-like for my taste, but illogical drop shadows are distracting enough to serve for the flashier crowd and their damnable irreverence.
015 The splintered spooky edition.
023 Fabricated Hollywood swashbuckling. If I were more dilligent, the subtle tone shift in the the vertical strokes would be here as well. Sorry.
046 Steeped in genuine American Arts and Craft history.¹ It’s lovably naive, part stencilly Celtic knot work, part old Italian (dare “Rotunda” blackletter be mentioned?) manuscript writing that moved around like the Roma and eventually mingled with the Celts and looked at their Uncials and somehow that round “h” with the tell tale tail came about. Mainly, this makes me wonder whether someone who knew about historic lettering had bad arthritis, like when Matisse started his cut paper work. It is more impressions of the old, imitated by less skilled hands with all that proud American gusto. My knowledge of the Roycroft school is limited, this is guesswork. Mainly, this book catalog cover is gorgeous. Also, I just found this lovely bit of history². 1 http://www.arts-crafts.com/archive/hdavis.shtml 2 http://blog.typeslashcode.com/2010/06/14/roycrofts-journey/
047 High standards of pleasant living graced the hospitality of early Philadelphians. So claims Philadelphia Blended Whisky in their 1947 ad. Sadly, the illustration implies no one enjoyed the pleasant living, or that whisky may cause sourpuss grimaces at pour recitals. The faux etched script is lovely though, with its barbed entry stroke on the “T.” Outlandish mega flourishes deceive. Both curly ornaments seemingly lead in and out of “The Heritage Whisky” in a fit of lettered finesse but actually crash awkwardly through the excessive “T” spiral and miss the tail of the “y” entirely. The “y” exit stroke looks like a failed high five.
049 Enjoy the pulp faceless monster edition with the inconsistently notched stroke ends. Itâ€™s so wood planky.
050 Multicolor old sheet music. This may or may not be decorative type, old foundriesâ€™ attempts to mimic the popular decorative ad lettering into mechanized art were sometimes shockingly good to my 2010 eye, and the printers were smart enough to space the swirly types loose enough, or the common catchphrases were sold in single word-block slugs (the tradition which I follow with this project.) The old guys were deceptive. Iâ€™m willing to bet this was a mixture of printersâ€™ ornaments, shadowed sans type, with lettered primary titles and extra detailing.
051 An overcompensatingly swashed pulp antihero paperback logo. I don’t ever associate this flower child merging to disco brush lettering with the ‘30s-era syndicated radio and magazine sleuth¹, nor Alec Baldwin², nor the menace on his face which is typically scarved. It seemed Bantam was having much fun here. 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shadow 2 http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20186843_3,00.html
054 A new tricky ALL TALKING PICTURE with a caucasian mesmero Sufi. The slight flared tips and flexing sides were exaggerated because they would probably be there after enlarging such small incidental titling. The best bit is where the crossbar of the “E” narrows outward.
063 A 20s monoline mutt with much unnecessary serifing by me when playing with the ink gain at the end of strokes resulting from such cheap printing and absorbant show card stock.
065 If these beveled letters werenâ€™t bouncing along a baseline, and multicolored, they would not seem so very James Dean-without-being-sued-by-Warner Bros and free spirited. Immortal? Rebel? Whatever. The staggering tall rigid sans is a staple treatment for bossanova/latin/jazz titling from that era, but the two-tone seems so militant, so prison-like. This conflict was the draw. The complete book begs to question who bought the abridged version?
067 Pulp beatnik badness, check out the varying “E”s. So much energy, so much movement, no curves. When done right, this sort of lettering is gorgeous (try to ignore the odious content), done wrong, it looks like repetitive quirked Adlib¹ on discount birthday party plates. 1 http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/bitstream/ad-lib/ad-lib/
068 I don’t know what two worlds Johnny Truro spends his time between, but I know that swash calligraphic “T” really has no business with the rest of that lettering, especially considering the far more sober swash on the “W” in Worlds. It looks like a “J” and the swash stroke is way too thick. These script-based capitals always remind me of the Fender¹ logo, whose “F” is mirrorworldy and overcompensating in ways the Atomic Age streamlined scripts always seem to. UPPERCASE² was kind enough to feature this in its second issue³. 1 http://fender.com/ 2 http://shop.uppercasegallery.ca/ 3 http://houndofthe.com/random/uppercase/
071 An unorthodox mystery. The notched and rounded alleybeaten lettering is made by the subtlest of white haloes around the blue. I’d like to think this was intentional, but I’m betting it was a pulp printer’s bad trapping. An approximate sloppy outline is included here. the “S” is the best portion, but out of bounds of “the” project.
073 More irregular “cut paper,” as some folks call this sort of display lettering, like those before¹ but with less kinks per side and more bold. Maybe this is lazier, maybe this is smarter and more legible (counter intuitive given the shapes) considering how busy the illustration is. This “E” reminds me of Kenny Scharf’s² frantic smiling profiles. 1 http://thetheproject.com/post/1092111830/v1067 2 http://kennyscharf.com/
074 Something blobbish, and most definitely not the Star FoxÂš I remember. Itâ€™s nicely sloppy, with inconsistent treatments for distance between amoeba stroke to amoeba stem to aperture, whether or not to even separate the strokes, and blob shape. Spacing was altered. 1 http://www.virtualreality.ca/starfox64logo.jpg
075 The Hunter is a seemingly unlicensed pinball game, and baffles me, perhaps least so that the product developer kept the famous Robert DeNiro image but not the easily replicable Optima logo from the original The Deer Hunter poster¹ and opted for a hand lettered rounded slab to make POW Russian roulette inviting from across a late ‘70s bar? Is the Warrant-video-blonde supposed to be Meryl Streep? The double outline bubble lettering is precious though, because few of its proportions stand to reason given how tightly packed the shapes are (pay close attention to the outline weights around the “E”’s vertical serifs). 1 http://www.impawards.com/1978/posters/deer_hunter.jpg
081 Multiple liberties were taken with the “h”’s nubbinly short ascender in Harry J. Weston’s Australian WWI recruitment poster. Serifs were divined from the blunt things stuck on the end of the stems. The shakes and quiver of, I’m guessing, an illustrator approximating the sign painter’s craft is adorable, as is the condensed “Hill” and “us” plainly indicating Weston ran out of room and didn’t care enough to plan thoroughly. But, there was a war on.¹ 1 http://www.world-war-pictures.com/war-poster/waraus003
082 One matchbook, or a promotional travel coaster? No clue.
083 Am exercise in gonzo swash technique, the LP cover looks like CBS records was selling more jazz than classical and decided to sparkle up the London Philharmonic Orchestra in kind.
084 Cross strokes like claws. Highway to the Dangerzone, though anacrhonistic, runs through my head. The Danny Boy from Memphis Belleยน, the closest thing I can tell to era-appropriate based on the bombers in the background, seems too twinkly and upbeat for lettering more fit to be blazened on ATV leathers or after burner conversion kits for suburban Toyotas. 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8k3ieyLR1g
085 So swirly… and not only in the “T”’s mirrored embellished entry swashes which is remarkably pretty. The sweet spot is the curve of “h” which sways with the stem of the “T” without looking drunken. I only wish the weight between the cap and the lowercase were closer. It’s either perfect for the harp, or it’s the extra injection of too-blue in the aged beauty’s tall hair.
086 This advertising story book lettering is a treat, all over the place (in character width at least) and over indulgent. It connects, but it doesn’t. The curves are quick and sharp, but some angles are bowled round. I imagine the illustrator, if not the same person, politely grumbling at how large the title is, running all those tangents up against the hat and coif curves. That gnomish dairy farmer looks like he’s made out of shortening. I think “Dwiggins” but I know it isn’t. The above was written before digging up more information on Vernon Grant, who probably did all his own titles as his signature is so considered. The vintage is similar, late enough to be inspired by Dwiggins’s ad work of the 30s and his venturing into type design for Linotype. There is a wealth of imagery and history on Grant here¹, including the tale of his creating Snap, Crackle, and Pop. 1 http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog/index.php?s=vernon+grant&sub mit=Search
087 The Ink Spots LP does not read “pre-doo wop vocal group” to me, but it’s pretty as befits most Decca covers. It struck me how the script caps were bolder than the bulk of the characters. This is something common in old metal foundry type, or careless contemporary digital graphic designers bumping up the point size of each initial to look elegant. It is rare in hand lettering and strange in monoline scripts.
089 I fought to foolishly optimize or fix this blackletter(ing), and the result is questionable. Like many distressed and grunge logos, it keeps best at a quick glance or seconds on-screen. Not scrutiny under a loop. Perhaps the innocent desire to open up the counters and interior shapes led to a deeper and darker path to the moors which threatened to eat up Rathboneâ€™s Holmes and Baskervilleâ€™s ancestors. Too much revision, not enough revival, but still a cartoonish result for the blood and thunder set.
091 So what if the spacing’s strange given the wide entry into the massive looped “h” ascender and the “e” trails off the end. This is perhaps my favorite so far, just for the brash strike through of the “t” cross bar. The contrast of sharp to airy loop, with that much swagger in so few letters, appeals.
092 Good things happen when the blunt straight wedge shapes of the veritcal serifs mix with subtly bowed stems. Bad things happen when the wedges donâ€™t have uniform weight, starting and stopping on different counts. Still, interesting with singular choices on the titling artistâ€™s part.
093 That “h” is beautiful. It’s so tight and speedy, with the knib edge declaring itself to the world, not cowing to expected soft notions of calligraphic rounds. The tiny countered “e” is also a nice touch, keeping the whole word sharp and compact, like it’s sucking in it’s stomach. I just now noticed that I didn’t close off the circled ball terminal closing off the “T”’s bottom entry swash. Damn.
095 This is the first curved “E” of the bunch, which I’m sure has a proper name in type camps but it’s early. The letter’s wide and almost approaches geometric strangeness, it’s always difficult to look at proportionally hulking circles next to condensed straight characters unless in a series (like the complete title) where the discrepancy is a feature. I’m not sure how this was received in the post war years, it looks Deco and harmless. It starred Cary Grant and Shirley Temple, so it probably was.
096 Vincent Price, not Bruce Wayne. The logo could easily have been swiped from Bob Kane’s costume design, but that’s not the point. The sheer 3D-ness of this awesome thing floors me. Not only did they flare out the shapes like Etruscan wood type, not only did they give it a deep drop shadow, they gave it a vertical lip outline with inner shadows. I urge you to hear the crime scene horn section ringing the murder mystery thriller in. It does not disappoint.¹ Yes, the spacing is a little tight with so much contrast and extraneous eye candy to get in the way, but who cares? 1 http://www.archive.org/details/The_Bat.mpeg
102 Death Danced Beside Her. Bad printing makes for interesting letters. Shadows do not meet their natural casting corners and serifs blob out a little due to sloppy drawing or over-inking. Bouncing latin serifs, ever the exoticizing type treatment when combined with bronze skinned vaguely tropicalian beauties, are a virile little breed. They show up everywhere. Iâ€™ve seen them lurch along announcing zombie films and endanger the safety and security of level baselines in thrillers, how very fitting to combine both here. The decaying voodoo texture is a nice touch, for that special overkill flavor.
106 [Lettering] to bridge the dangerous years. If I’d access to high res of the original tiny blobs and remnants of ink(?) art would remain but the digitization is entirely guess work, formed of tiny straight edged facets, curvless. It seems fitting to make a wholly abrasive lockup to warn the Wonder Bread-soft children of their deviant potential. Mainly, I long for a time when the social malcontents are the ones wearing ties, look at that loosened knot…, and their brazen ability to distort perspective and float, loitering, against telephone poles. Designed [by Ainslie Roberts¹] to protect the dignity of the home and to combat the ‘juvenile’ -or “parental”- problem so acute in our time. 1 http://www.flickr.com/photos/23023719@N04/2766526957/
108 Disregard the unsettling image of a woman diving into a shallow pool of scalding hot liquid. That is some beautifully odd calligraphy, dashed off by a clever copywriter? My favorite portion is the reverse “3” “E” (I always forget the technical term for this looped alternate) which keep their stacked form in lower case and dip below the baseline as if they were oldstyle numerals. It is an odd touch but one which links the rare pairing of upright condensed all caps script to its (traditionally) distantly related lowercase forms, severely slanted here. Tagged “1940s” with a bit of apprehension, I’m not savvy to when shorts were risque enough to print on cheesecake naughty postcards before transitioning to chastely elderly bathing attire.
114 There is not much to say beyond admiring, after so many looped script variations filled to the brim with effort, the simplicity that only a few angles can bring to a sans wordmark. Also, had Mr Hartley gone over the top, the title would fall apart into goofiness, a job capably handled by smiling elephants. I only learned this was a Disney work after finding an unattributed image link, taken from their 1957 magazine or so Kevin Kidneyâ€™sÂš exhaustive company illustration archive explains. Thanks for documentation Mr. Kidney. 1 http://miehana.blogspot.com/
115 I do not understand what happened with the disproportionate vertical serifs of the “T,” I imagine ink was spilled and fudged into place, without the care to dull the contrast throughout the rest of the finished title to make it uniform. Either way, the “mistake” and forshortening seemed worthwhile to digitize. Aside from the serif confusion, the quote marks spin the story in an odd way, hinting at an unreliable narrator? Perhaps the man was not exactly brutish… Featured in the lovely UPPERCASE ¹ issue 2². Take a moment and look at the hand drawn lettering Producers Releasing Corporation for a treat, before the sans world was cleaned up by the Swiss. It’s a little humanist with the sharp terminals in the “r” and the upward tilting “e”s, and a bit Rennery³ though squeezed (there is extraneous logic here, removing the bottom bowl or curve of hte “g,” it smacks of Euro Modernism.) 1 http://www.uppercasegallery.ca/ 2 http://houndofthe.com/random/uppercase/ 3 http://old.typotheque.com/books/paul_renner
130 So many styles… it looks like the producers couldn’t decide the film’s tone, cut one too many times by successive editors from comedy to drama and back again? It’s almost punk in the ransom note grab-baggery. The “The” is a swaggering little brute, pushing its neighbors aside starting a turf war with its malformed ampersand sidekick. A gang of exuberant swashes. In isolation, the sweeping brush strokes are pleasant enough to overlook the odd things occurring in the reverse “3” “E” which crowds the “h” and is so loose and squiggly, unrelated to the “h”’s tight join of curveto-stem.
132 Twisting and turning through all the shadowed byways of a skyscraper city. An unaccustomed, truly unnecessary, five tones here, frantically inspired by a lack of trust in digital gradients to truly match the brushed (human, imprecise) title card and the random joy of enlarging low resolution images to gather grayscale palettes from pixel-Pointilist blocks. 1948 was well out of the American Deco era, but the film title still retains the high cross bars and high contrast associated with those times. The choice is interesting considering the artconscious story of a magazine editor, note the bevvy of two flatly sober serif, script, and condensed sans ___ ways logos beneath the film title. But, The Big Clock is a crime story, and so Hollywood most likely relied on the dimensional sans noir trope in case you hadn’t noticed the emphasized nor heard the literal “suspense” of the trailer¹. 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tqK08N_aQU
145 This is where digitization from low resolution images makes for the loosest of interpretations. Do I believe the points of this baseball banner lettering are actually blunted nubbins? No. Are they dulled in reproduction by photographing or screen-shooting the inherently fuzzed image? Probably, and so it becomes a feature to explore and the lottery of soft focus-to-pixel grid created nubbins of varying sizes (small for diagonal serifs and top/bottom extremes, larger for horizontals). Other remnants imperfectly kept include the floating “E” and misaligned “H” serifs. I only know see that I forgot that the “H” shadow ends just shy of the “E,” damn.
151 Abbott & Costello Part One. Are those the dots of a strafed machine gun? Perhaps the animated sign painterâ€™s cartoon, in the High Renaissance use of the term (how Pre-yet-Post Modern could that have been)? No matter, taken out of context, and after fidgeting with the irregularity of the brush tip marks, the bundle of circles are nice and timeless as display lettering can be. It should be noted that Boris Karloff also stars as a Swami. Copywriting we donâ€™t get treated to anymore: Yipes! Those Killer-Dillers are out to get the King of the Killers!
152 Abbott & Costello Part Two. One for the rebels looking to take the Tuscans¹ of old out of the Westerns ghetto. Well, it is Hollywood west, but sans cowboys. What fascinated me more was that the letterer took the load bearing width of workhorse bracketed slab Clarendons² like Ionic³ (which if, assuming you’re not aggregating this, you are reading right now4) and modified them using decorative wood type accents at the serifs and mid-stem. The ample space between characters actually allows the modest spurs to be features and not distractions which is typical in the compressed display cuts favored by old poster folk and produced a Big Top variation of the “picket fence effect.” The weight and proportions here are reinterpreted to blend the crisp details of the title with the width of the genuine though tinier “the.” Purists be forgiving. 1 http://www.utexas.edu/cofa/a_ah/rrk/specimen.php 2 http://new.myfonts.com/search/clarendon/fonts/ 3 http://www.letterpress.dwolske.com/?cat=11 4 http://www.webtype.com/font/bentonmodernre-family/
167 Here Be Monsters, for Hallowe’en. Letters lurching, a script gone jerky and clanking, like the groom’s kneeless shuffle. The combination of styles is remarkable as always in these 1930s Hollywood 100% hand lettered showcards and ads. While the script has Frankenstein’s Monster’s gate (packed spacing, tall ascenders, slightest of curves at the overlaps of tense direct strokes equal tense?), the round letters in the bottom copy deny curves for neck bolt rigidity. Clever.
169 Lest we all not forget, books can be frightful too¹, even when hindered by perplexed werewolves with conjunctivitis and sillier lettering. This extreme serif style is a sort rarely seen outside of concert posters and pulp science fiction. It’s the revived Art Nouveau vegetable² lettering of lithographers swiped by the psychedelia and the acid of San Francisco, but sharper and goofier for it. Prog? Perhaps. Syrupy bellbottomed brackets, taffy-pulled terminals that snap off and quick dry on the recoil, but not wholly organic as the strict system boxes letters into stacks. Hideous, in a way, for Halloween but not the intended fright. Embrace the strange, and beware snaggle-toothed wolfmen this weekend. 1 http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2010/10/modest-proposal-that-doesnt-actually.html 2 http://www.cambridge2000.com/gallery/images/PC1913208.jpg
153 The lock up is puzzling, while the “T” swings upward, the “h” ascender stays rather shallow and a descender is invented to merge into the rule. But it’s still just so good and gooey and compact, still not distracting from the “C” in Country Gentleman. In a period of 25 years since this Schoonover Canoeing Through the Rapids cover, the publication¹ shifted from presenting the machismo of an adventurous American agriculture to something tamer with less draw due to editorial or management troubles I know nothing of, eventually being bought and merged into the fanfareless Farm Journal. It’s a little sad, but the Golden Age of Illustration was dying, deco was booming, and mechanization was far sexier than canoes. 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Country_Gentleman
154 The proto spandex’d hero. The aspect ratio is odd, so I’ll guess it’s the title panel to the one of the original 1936 newspaper strips and not any of the licensed serialized books, TV, comics, and Billy Zane films which flooded the market for mysterious vigilantes. The slant, the contrast, and the Formula 1 racetrack “E” just have style. Believe that this hero rides a stallion bareback and carelessly sports striped underwear because of that fashion-forward lettering. Softened edges made by a dull pen or inky press are sharpened in the digital version to regain the seeming crisp intent. Bottom edges now flare just slightly to the right for momentum’s sake. Spacing has been opened to rein in the rogue “E” of the source.
155 Solid, dark, refreshingly plain, and just a hint of rounded corners, what I generally call “routed” even when the means of production is entirely illustrative. This may look familiar as the WPA’s series of public health initiatives is well archived¹ and documented² though the flashiest state park and tourism posters get the most design press coverage. I doubt such thick and blocky sans would be used to target new mothers should a public awareness campaign be necessary today. It would probably look harmlelessly “feminine” like the now defunct print edition of Domino magazine³, which was well made but hardly the aesthetic a federally funded Patriotic call to action merits. The type here makes breast feeding dutiful, your/her part to helping a substantial America not fall to ruin, and the comparatively softer illustration (though it still eerily smacks of Soviet influence4, nyet?) elicits the matronly comfort. These posters should be available from a POD service somewhere, and if not, the Library of Congress isn’t recognizing a small but profitable enterprise. 1 http://loc.gov/pictures/collection/wpapos/ 2 http://www.nutrias.org/photos/wpa/wpa35.htm 3 http://www.mediabistro.com/unbeige/cond-nast-to-fold-domino-march-issuewill-be-shelter-mags-last_b6351 4 http://eng.plakaty.ru/posters?cid=4&part=1935
076 The things talented people can do with brushes and ink are sometimes small, and mighty, and under-loved. The “Air Step” is nice, but the incidental copy shines with the effortlessness of a trained hand crossing their Ts with force. Willpower is in that contrast, you can feel the body of the brush finally relinquishing a payload of ink, so thick crossing so thin strokes. And that was the initial appeal of this piece of calligraphy. The surprise when zooming in was the snagged ink of the vertical strokes, still wet and pulled right, pooling at the intersections. Such detail from throwaway headlines isn’t for our eyes, and I risk having revived a craftsman’s lack of patience, but to interesting effect. The weights all screwy and the counters aren’t matched, too needleeyed tight, but the mistakes are the features here?
045 As life is wont to do, it provides options. Especially for the picky and meticulous. As revivals are wont to do, they tend to melt or stiffen under the revivalist’s hand. As I am indecisive, love variety and the notion of B-side remixes, and am an admittedly unreliable historian with but casual concern for historic accuracy, there are two variations here. I set out to put only a spitshine on the awkward interconnected slab serif covering Masters’s The Venus of Konpara, I followed the natural ebb and flow of the unknown letterer’s hard won frantic hand. Partway through, I got tired of too many waves per stem (an effect simply drawn, annoying when pointby-pointed in Illustrator), admitted that what I loved here was the contrast and colliding serifs as well as the dancing baseline. I recalled the “jump” found in more¹ refined² fonts³, whose feet weren’t anchored to a single parallel yet still looked good beyond goofy. This slab is not in that spunky utilitarian mold, but might be, if hammered into obedience. So I rewarded myself, after dredging the hand-made look, then I stripped all the unnecessary bits and forged the perpendicular version. I don’t care which is better or right, have both. Consider one a white label, a remix of a remix. Or the alternate take. 1 http://www.houseind.com/fonts/edbenguiatfonts/viewfonts 2 http://christianschwartz.com/bailey.shtml 3 http://typesupply.com/portfolio/typefaces/burbank/specimens/
156 Isolated from its parent title, this little “the” just goes zooooooom. There is a fudgey quality contrasting that implied speed as straight lines are not ruler precise, brackets wander out of sync, the weight is so beastly for the wee feline subject, and soft serifs complicate the trajectory. First, ask yourself whether sheet music, if it were still a mass market item, really requires the dynamism of dueling perspective (not counting the horizontal “H” cross bar disobeying the diagonal logic), and whether that visual motion best represents the telltale plinking sound of a cat striding upon an open piano. Probably not, perspective is not percussive? Second, today, we are accustomed to this lettering’s extreme pitch but only dressed in sans. It’s a trickier problem with serifs as the vertical ones on the “T” and “E” destroy the illusion of straight-shotted motion. Serifs are burrs and increase drag (remember Scorcese’s The Aviator? Hughes requested every spot rivet counter sunk to be flush with the XF-11’s¹ body to gain fractions of speed with least resistance). The more I look, the more I am puzzled, the more I enjoy the mutant emergent thing. 1 http://www.flickr.com/photos/31383210@N00/2150850178/
157 Consider me penitent. Sloppiness in lettering-hunting then file organizing meant the source material credits were lost. Or, never existed. Just now, I spent too long looking for “Around the world” on advanced image search for naught. This mysterymeat aesthetic looks equally 50s¹, 70s², 80s³, more 80s4, and 90s5 to me depending upon the market. Why did the lettering artist dot a “t”? How fundamentally punk. How can someone cognizant of letter shapes enough to break them so deliberately produce such a runt “e” dwindling next to lipoid thick “th?” Surely that is crafty negligence. 1 http://www.flickr.com/photos/vintagekttn/5116086854/ 2 http://www.interviewmagazine.com/archives/ 3 http://www.flickr.com/photos/paxtonholley/4749471081/ 4 http://www.geetarz.org/reviews/stones/atlantic-city-89-tsp.jpg 5 http://www.klaskycsupo.com/history/
158 Complexities of turn of the century, the previous one, bookbinding are probably the source of the strange bleeding. I’m guessing the golden ink bled mercilessly, flooding fine subtle and shallow brackets, uncovering pointy serifs where none existed to connect neighboring letters like the tide’s gone out. What is certain is that this may have been one of the 15 updated editions since its original 1900 publication, hastily reprinted with slapdash letters whose horizontal weights don’t bother with uniformity. Today, we see this softened application as horror film type for hauntings, its gossamer connections for wispy corruptible teenagers. Or, 90s retro, once avant¹-garde² digitizing the fuzz of photographed screen type. There may be some insightful book designer’s typographic commentary on the English versus the dueling Dutch republics in South Africa but it is doubtful. I find this book fascinating because it is wartime journalism, strict cold reportage, from a man who later believed in ectoplasm and fairies, and no doubt prior influenced John Watson’s character the returned soldier physician veteran. 1 http://www.fontshop.com/fonts/downloads/fontfont/ff_blur_light_exp/ 2 http://www.fontbureau.com/fonts/gangly/
159 While there is little love in my memory for the Oz stories, I’ve a deep adult appreciation for its legacy’s wealth of hand rendered illustration, design, lettering, book arts¹, and landslide of merchandising ephemera. This brand was a monster, so much more important than a technicolor Judy Garland, and the fantasy allowed the artists to fake an original international culture by swiping and recobbling the aesthetics of our own. This chapterhead is piratical and Germanic and very American in its romanticizing an idea of classic lettering, probably not referencing a source directly. Remember, Oz was created by a Chicago man before the Jazz Age². As a whole the title swishes about more than I am comfortable with, but the restrained flair in “The” isolated is beautiful. A few curves vs. a lot of vertical. Yes, if one must add a swash to the “e” which I’ve never seen in historic condensed blackletter, please deduct the traditional bottom curve. Such a transformation is believable enough as no mass is lost, only repositioned. Also, the original bulwark of a title should be noted: Glinda of Oz; In Which Are Related the Exciting Experiences of Princess Ozma of Oz, and Dorothy, in Their Hazardous Journey to the Home of the Flatheads, and to the Magic Isle of the Skeezers, and How They Were Rescued from Dire Peril by the sorcery of Glinda the Good. There will be more from Oz. 1 http://www.aiga.org/content.cfm/the-man-behind-the-man-behind-oz-w-wdenslow-at-150 2 http://chicago-outdoor-sculptures.blogspot.com/2007/12/oz-park.html
160 At first this was a throw away, revived for the sake of variety because I hadn’t played with a stereotypical flared lock up from the late 60s and it was bound to happen eventually. Best be done with it sooner than later. Little was considered, I offer no insight. This is sugar and soda and empty calories lettering, until I did some research. I just assumed the Modniks were created to compete with Archie and the gang a few youth trends later down the comics audience’s evolution. What I found was an educational publisher notorious for missing the mark¹ (Mods in 1970 were already outmoded) and being the pride of grandmothers, masking facts and history lessons with aching forced attempts at relating to kids with trend packaging. Most grievous, the artist did not know the difference between a cello and an upright bass. The cherry of a postscript is that the title flopped then was converted into amasculine street racing comic². Same characters, new title Modwheels, new art, same bobbing heads atop the logo formatting. How Puzzling. 1 http://www.misterkitty.org/extras/stupidcovers/stupidcomics159.html 2 https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?minyr=1971&maxyr=1971&tid=192481&mi ngr=0
161 Is the monoline script smart? Blending the rigidity and shallow arcing curves of 1920s lingerie? Or, does the letterer have a taste for pinching constrained shapes (take a moment to compare how open that “h” counter is with the letter spacing) which is simply fitting coincidence? Reinforced and lightly boned as the copy says better than I can. Three hand lettered styles fight for attention like siblings, or neighboring countries with old grudges ignoring each other. At first glance the strict “The” and “of” relate to the thins in high contrast “GOSSARD Line” and “Beauty.” No. The weights differ in clever attempts to darken up the monolines as compensation, evening out the gray values of reading text (blur your eyes a bit)? Or was it a bit more low tech, simply different ruling pens per style resulting in an unintended weight shift? Loose handwriting looks and reads as if the sales staff decided the ad man did not do enough, they chose to clutteredly Tell atop the simple Show of a girl in underwear just before submittal. Imagine Victoria’s Secret or La Perla naming underwear 572-a, then claiming it provides a particularly satisfactory foundation or is exceedingly pliant and surprisingly light and soft.
162 A child treated to Tom Hamil’s Brother Alonzo¹ is, parents hope, a budding artist. Hamil bridges the abstract joy of paint and color for the whim of it amidst “representational” smiling tonsured monks, pulling off much with simple blocks of pigment and spare black outlines. A less-is-more approach in cartoon anatomy doesn’t transfer to his letter shapes. The fortunate child may stumble in their future career as a lettering savant if so inspired by the book whose titles are flowery, flouncy, and sometimes a mess-without-reference. The title spread is blackletter of a sort², because that’s what Monastic texts used, right? But what does that actually look like again? Cap “A”s do what? Sharp things, curly things, just add some confused feature bits and kids will get it as “old.” I forgive him, because he means so well and fumbles it with affectionate craft. Better, the farewell script is as soupy joyous as the smiling brothers. This is the end, there is no room for restraint, one last indulgent hurrah. Weights gone erratic, those close “h” and “e” trajectories are going to hug. That is not a collision course. 1 http://illustratedinfullcolourthroughout.blogspot.com/2009/05/brother-alonso.html 2 http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tjYmnjdZVaQ/ShCJHepzBmI/AAAAAAAABIQ/ muAWYNycKJ8/s1600-h/al01.jpg
163 Have yourself a Welsh little Christmas. Board the train¹ at Paddington a half century ago, wait for the porter to call you for your scheduled lunch in the catering car, and receive this three color beauty as a menu. Eric Fraser was one of Modern history’s less favored breed entitled commercial artist. Not precisely an illustrator, not just a letterer, not just a paste-up and layout man. And happily, not a Modernist set to reshape a Universal World with geometric icons and formless information loaded with ideals. That pen had personality, and drew formfit letters indicative of, according to him, South Wales. The dancing stress in the ascending and descending strokes is more aggressive than the tapering of similar Koch or Bernhardian lettering which I imagine he referenced. It looks like he placed a 20s Klingspor type specimen aside the drafting table to flip back and forth from Koch² Antiqua³ to the Modern used for “Ratio-Latein” 4 There may have been booze involved for this looks too fun, looped dragon feather detailing and letters’ thick to abrupt thins making clipped curves rather than a traditional swooping flow. For example, look at the “T” where the weight shooting down the stem appears to skip a track, the motion switching from within the curve to outside it then recorrecting itself just before the lozenge-terminal. Like a guilty hustle back inbounds to cheat a ref or a pro driver’s quick wheel adjustment into the turn to escape a fishtail. Fun and brash. Image swiped from Mike Yashworth’s scans of Eric Fraser’s work5. 1 http://www.flickr.com/photos/43211437@N08/4831509880/ 2 http://www.flickr.com/photos/interrobang918/sets/72157616576838161/ 3 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bogtrykkeren/4236763965/in/photostream/ 4 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bogtrykkeren/4238158404/in/photostream/ 5 http://www.flickr.com/photos/36844288@N00/sets/72157623270429718/ with/4402339420/
173 There is damage in hoarding physical objects. Less so if one’s hoarding is digital and orderly in archiving files. However, what is slight and privately embarrassing hidden between mattresses feels really icky living buried in a harddrive. Icky, traceable, and on-the-badsort-of-listable. I don’t remember where this title still was swiped from, worrisome, and I’d no clue what breed of film it titled having only appreciated the brush lettering I know has nothing to do with mid-to-late-90s Pilot Jumbo chisel tipped marker¹ tagging which it resembles. I like it best without context. I want to think there is a hidden bundle of RNA code linking vigorous lettering by youthful, maybe dangerous, artists across generations. It provides them genetically stiff wrists, glancing knowledge of technique, and turns them unhindered with a talent to play hooky by age 12. That’s the sort of person I imagine lettering this. Factfinding for documentation proved dirtier. Now, I imagine director Sarno scrawled it atop a piece of mylar without care in order to get back to lighting taboo smut to best Bergmanesque effect. Previous vigor feels lascivious in context. I can’t help but view the motion. That shrinking x-height across lines as heaving, exhaling. Those connecting strokes a little more determined than common brush lettering and literally, stroking. Curved characters dipping below propriety’s baseline and cramped spacing of “indelicate” is… it’s just sex lettering and I’ll stop. Regardless, it’s confident and pretty, criteria for this site. What I assume to be the original crisp connections are digitized rather than the subtle curved joins softened by filming and probable hand-me-down-the-back-room duping since The Indelicate Balance was too scandalous (or plain bad) to commercially release. 1 http://artprimo.com/catalog/art_primo_broadline_marker_chart
164 Look quick and see a lovely unremarkable 1900s layout, the jobbing sort where a lovely archival print is combined with lovely (stock?) floral line art, and is surrounded by a lovely lock up of lettering. Look close and see the foibles. Letter shapes change upon a whim. Glyphic serifs end sharp and shallow, one of those features whose effect is felt best in quantity building up a crisp layout gently guiding your eyes in and out of sparkly shapes. Then the Hands “s” ball terminal confuses it all. So round, so soft and alien in its serif surroundings, like its about to be popped. The letterer charged ever forward, imagining newer lovelier shapes, leaving mismatched “n” and “d”s in his/her wake. This is a cardinal sin to typographers reliant upon those control characters, disturbing the relationships between straight to curved shape midstream would be disaster in a font. The letterer cares not, individualized shapes reign: “T”s flex wide then shallow, some “E”s turn up their cross bar noses at their soft or hard edged brethren. The variables are what make these antiques lovely. Even the rules between the boxes shimmer and shake. Isolated, there is an admirable draping downswing in “THE” from the curved “T” serifs and wide disproportionate “E” strokes. A soft arc motion considering how chunky the weight is.
165 Sometimes scavenging samples feels like a checklist, a game to fill a specimens book (think butterfly catching, less type specimen) of genres, both lettering and publishing. Do I have, have I revived, have I posted science fiction? Pulp novels? Kooky ’60s space race fare? Blob letters, ripply blob letters? The last facet was missing. No more. Pre-California pop, this seems my generation’s rightful poster child for MST3K-fodder schlock. Maintenance man jumpsuits, applique tubes and dials, questionable ray guns and worse hounddog dour creature FX. Materials and sci-fi aesthetics which may have been the prototype for Mars Attacks cards released a year later? Was Phantom Planet that popular? Enough to merit a novelization? Bless that pulp publishing zeal, it left the most daring lettered stuff as no one expected it to be any good in the first place? Or later be archived online… The logo looks to imitate the film’s sudsy title sequence¹ and is therefore a better standard of ’60s consistent branding than the original playbills². Maybe the pulp layout man was lazy. Maybe he found film’s spacepond scum inspiring. The technique was later adopted by MGM upon reprint³, thankfully still lettered rather than employing a wavy font with duplicate “a”s to ruin the organic effect. 1 http://www.tradebit.com/usr/24thstpublishing/pub/9002/80453794_ vlcsnap-00121.jpg 2 http://www.moviepostershop.com/the-phantom-planet-movie-poster-1020266764.jpg 3 http://cdn1.iofferphoto.com/img/item/184/088/410/the-phantom-planet-deanfredricks-coleen-gray-vhs-a8165.JPG
166 Strip it down in caps. Four verticals. Five horizontals. Nothing else. After much wobble and show in last week’s science fiction venture, poster artist Dion’s structure plainspoken sans construction is welcomed. However, flavor is not lost as hitching a crossbar so many rungs up the “H” in an otherwise monotone sans is statement enough. Snipping the top “E” bar throws it over the top allowing the definite article to steal the titling show. Late at night, drowsy, I envision it as the flouncy scarf bunched into a suitcoat pocket, one beaming and dandified note in an otherwise sober business ensemble. Contemporary brand consultants would probably cough, advise Dion that the product name RAPID has multiple opportunities to emphasize straight-to-round relationships, then overcharge for said advice. But, 1910 was a more adventurous time, pour housewives had nothing to defend the homestead from unsettling winking suns save metal polish and odd horizontalled sans. Lithography artists liked their sans wild, before international type designers wedged traditional proportions built on familiarity and legibility into them for cast display type. Swiped from Galerie Montmarte¹. 1 http://www.flickr.com/photos/galeriemontmartre/4380909360/
174 “The workman in drawing letters should use the technical limitations of the craft in which he works, to its own advantage. He should not endeavor by trickery to obtain results in one material or method that by right belong to others. Nor should he undertake to master that which in the nature of things is not to be overcome… he should not draw in line to imitate the technique of a woodcut, or design a type to give the effect of a letter engraved in copper…” — Frederic W. Goudy reflecting upon his 1905 design Engravers’ Roman, which could likely be attributed to his initial, and relatively outof-character, weight of Copperplate Gothic drawn in succession for the invitation market. “Today, I would refuse even to consider such a commission; then my ideas were not so fixed.” I thank Goudy’s lapse. I thank a titan of original American type design for that family. Sadly, careless typographers blow it up without recognizing how fine serifs in small sizes turn warty when large, and shouty (or ignorant) typographers discredit the font as a blight. So, when I see lettering artists keep true to the engraved formula of however big+sharp thin serifs, especially with widened proportions, it looks lovely.
168 Honestly, the top heavy faceted curves of the serif drew me in, reminding me of Preissig’s peculiar work¹, built upon a career² of wood and linocut printing³. Notches and shapes were approached by abandoning rounds with a confident gouger’s hand. “Red Bull” is so ragged next to the long looping threadneedle “th” swash, like two letterers tag teamed the jacket against a deadline. On closer inspection, the varying styles across front, spine,4 and mapback5 would suggest multiple production artists. Dell’s series ran into the 500s. Time was more important than typographic palette consistency. It’s unclear whether illustrator Robert Graves contributed. Whomever is to credit, they understand balance. The “h” ascender is stock straight tall enough to counteract the barrel roll acrobatic swash which still hugs the trio of letters, emphasizing the functional word, even directing the eye to and from the “e.” Lesser swashes would fling about, up and away, groundless and a little tawdry. 1 http://www.flickr.com/photos/martin-pecina/4364643313/sizes/o/in/pool-827119@ N20/ 2 http://www.p22.com/terminal/preissigtype.html 3 http://www.galerieart.cz/symbolismus_vojtech_preissig.htm 4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stout-SBC-3.jpg 5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mapback
170 This is shaky, almost inadmissible. The quantity of similar quirky characters (“N”) could suggest this was typeset… but, and perhaps it’s just the low resolution talking, they don’t all match, especially across the series of regimented covers¹ which suggests a very disciplined letterer. Or, a warden of an art director slyly mixing banged up foundry type with spot lettering. A long legged “R” here, a more condensed “of” ligature there. This was published for Freemasons², a group capable of appreciating rigidity and repetition of an ornamented standard format. So consider this gray. The “T” is the star, and it’s the first drop cap presented. A crossbar doing something to approximate American Pole Wladyslaw Theodor Benda’s ’20s exoticized “elsewhere”³ Arabesque but keeping within the confines of oldstyle typographic shapes. Swiped from Vintage Blog 4. If you recognize the face, let me know. 1 http://mypetarts.blogspot.com/2009/11/shrine-magazine.html 2 http://nationalheritagemuseum.typepad.com/library_and_archives/the-shrinemagazine-1926-1928/ 3 http://thetheproject.com/post/2072432230/v1159 4 http://vintage-spirit.blogspot.com/
171 Glance, don’t linger. My time has been misspent examining this trouble, yours is precious. “The” is a script hunched, caught before its tripwire snapped to unleash the leonine ferocity lettered into all the ball terminals, swash curls, and curves which are best shown by giving them the air space they require to expand and maneuver. I fix my posture when looking at the current jumble of shapes and tight-but-onlysometimes-touching lack of whitespace, which is the curiosity here. There is appeal, always, in each of those features, but to smash them together, then overlap them upon further exciting serif lettering with outlines and bad color traps is a dangerous thing to do. Then, to shrink the attempt smaller for the spine? The is ADVENTURE layout to match adventure novel content (pre Tarzan Burroughs). If I was more thorough, I could have revived the small version to see the freakish shapes attempting to optically correct the original’s mangled inky script intentions. Pure conjecture: the mix of round and dangerously sharp serif strokes, French Baroque(ish) italics, was meant to incorporate shapes approaching Arab calligraphy and ornamentation from a long way off…? If the the illustrator (cough, author’s son, cough) could not address the human concerns to proportionately attach a man’s head to his torso, nor obey the rules of piled perspective, cultural authenticity is secondary. Still, A for ADVENTURE Effort. I waver between love and disgust here, which means something.
172 The Strand is worth looking at as a beast, 700+ monthly issues of, primarily, fiction. Its image and logo changed to fit the times. Three years from its closure, I hope this adorable lettering did not contribute to a drastic redesign triggering poor sales. The “filigrets” as someone dubbed them are charming, if not always uniform in the outlines and bump amplitude, and better for it. The digitized version may have cleaned that up for the sake of logic and troubles of working with low res imagery. I am not familiar with multicolored Tuscans enough to say the decision to handle varying “E” vertical serif tone shifts was unique, but turning the white inward/down struck odd and good, off from the logical all up or all down? Part of me wanted to wait till December to showcase such red and white festiveness.
175 Studies in contrasts like this generally floor me, mixing long shots and one grand stroke countered by small touches. Here, almost negligent shallow connecting strokes and loops are polite little handkerchiefcovered coughs next to the throaty bark of a “T” swoop. Something in parallel strokes vs. rounds like those found in the Hoover logo, those just into or out of the streamlined era when all commercial products looked like they went zoom, seem to contain Class. But Working Class? Classy Work? Work with Class? The “The” here is so mannerly postured and ought not be selling Atkins sawblades. Those ascenders are starched stiff and the little curves have been brought in, tailored. This gent does not Do-It himself. He hires someone and complains about their mud dragged into his foyer. This “The” has a foyer.
176 Something sparky and essential was lost by leeching the red and brush texture from the signpainterly title and has been replaced by cooled efficient seamless black in the digitized version. By negating those features, along with the needless quote marks (also core to the appeal of a practiced sign painter script) I feel I’ve turned it into a cartoon. I’ve switched off the neon sign and the sudden loud quiet of lost glow and hum is more significant than appreciating the bare shape of its letters. They still read as hand rendered brush strokes, their buttery girth remain, it is still remarkably fun looking (the lower curve of the “t” seeming to spring from the cross bar at a crooked angle, setting a new course turn right quick), but some heat has left.
177 Charles Livingston Bull invented Witch Haus¹ graphics before vector art and synthesizers, in the pianola era. Digital children with your pyramids, artful cropping, and mutant angled sans: your art is not wholly of the future. In 1902, a mammoth contributor to the rugged pictorial identity of the US (working for Country Gentleman, Barnum + Bailey, The Saturday Evening Post, the war effort2) chose to mix his signature naturalism with formally decorative frames, cropping like a muralist fitting scenes to the 3D whims of an architect’s frieze. More so, the titling says something (then) new in trying to look old. By adjusting only a few angles and dimensions, this sans has invented lineage in what I can only guess is the reimagining of monolinear inscriptions, decorative Uncial shapes, and a pile of guesswork. Livingston Bull seems to take the industrial approach to fudging Mackintoshian letters, not unlike ATF3 and the Viennese4 cafes5 soon after6. There was an international urge to slant and muck with cross bars to snap words together. That last bit is conjecture and enthusiasm, less proper research. The angle and jarring ligature are so thick and carpenterial it appears loadbearing. Weighty connections in diminuitive words like “the” feel wrong, conspicuous. There is no room to politely ignore it. Stare at your feet and not the unfortunate birthmark of a typoghraphic feature. We cast it for our layouts due to its preternatural iffyness. Historical fakery in ways we don’t accept. This is a functional sans in masquerade fare, I suspect this “THE” unsnaps its ligature and straightens its crossbar for work Monday morning. 1 http://chillwitchnamemagic.com/ 2 http://www.posterpassion.com/ArtDetail.asp?Size=med&Inv=TVP-0314 3 http://www.fontbureau.com/fonts/Epitaph/ 4 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c9/Kolo_Moser_-_Der_ Musikant_-_1909.jpeg 5 http://viennagraphicdesign.blogspot.com/2010/04/posters-for-fledermaus-cabaret. html 6 http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_dr1OWgsBhTI/SoNduZw_HJI/AAAAAAAACHw/ TUaPEjrKU_0/s1600-h/580_Vienna_1900_PRODUIT.jpg
178 Baselines, uniform character widths, and propriety be damned. In smutty stag stories like The Passionate Namedropper moddish arrows¹ abound and nothing is steady, society’s norms are ignored. Behind closed doors the letters bounce and pile like partially dressed bodies. A serif “i” even gets involved. Open minded scandalous lettering here, but friendly enough due to the soft strokes which may have been created using a rounded Speedball B series knib²? Such knibs could help the different sizes maintain weight when photographic or digital typesetting methods would lose heft as characters shrunk (see the “on” pair). Or, perhaps the letterer had drilled those informal sans³ practice4 sheets so thoroughly that the letters defaulted to such clear sans while they focused on the odd couplings and immodest ligatures. No ending is clipped clean, each is pliant, touchable, because of those cartoony tools? 1 http://www.thewho.net/whotabs/images/drums/6504_goldhawk.jpg 2 http://willsquills.com.au/SpeedballHuntNibsEtc.htm 3 http://www.flickr.com/photos/ited/3311117234/in/photostream 4 http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucky_mike/19925373/
179 Economical blends of calligraphy paired with calligraphic foundry type (Warren Chappell’s Lydian¹ from ATF) are a treat. The layout and illustration team Im-Ho (which stands for Sol Immerman and Lawrence Hoffman or Robert Holly) had taste enough to letter beyond Lydian’s cursive companion², whose spacing limitations cannot cut as dashing a lockup and are a little feeble by comparison. Formally, the notches of negative space left between vertical stroke entry and horizontals (sometimes overlapping are are more gradually tapered upon intersection) repeat the diagonals of Lydian better and more aggressively than Lydian Cursive. “The” has the wingspan of gloating culprits here. Fiend serifs. Conniving serifs. Sharpness confident enough to leave taunting clues to the detective. I’m curious whether the lacquered box in question is Asian or Russian? I want to hope the knib-like sans typography is a tasteful distance from the lazier Charlie Channed take-out menu type³. I want trash pulp layouts to have a touch of domestic restraint for once, and not default to sad stereotypes. Swiped from uk vintage4. 1 http://www.letterpress.dwolske.com/?cat=94 2 http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/bitstream/lydian-cursive/ 3 http://www.evilbrainjono.net/blog?permalink=547 4 http://www.flickr.com/photos/42080330@N03/5191523153/
180 Considering the anatomical terminology employed to discuss letter structure, “physique” is rare. Typographers talk of masculine letters’ “stature” or discuss heavy weight/ink coverage in cheeky terms like “beef.” The proto fitness guru Anthony Sansone, as photographed by Townsend in The Body Beautiful, sold a physique finer than brute heft and muscle for the sake of manly titillation, which required finer titling? A generation or two before were Vaudevillian strongmen like Eugen Sandow¹ and the circussy curly² ad lettering of the time³ treated them as spectacles. Sansone opted for a curated Adonis build, simultaneously strong yet desirous. The book’s flourished thin script was a unique choice. Was it an editorial call to focus on aesthetic “beauty,” the typical duty of such scripts, to counterbalance the model’s mass? Emphasis in contrast? Swashes in tall, stiffened, letters of slight slope seem flaunted to me, and slow. Languorous. Beauty yes, fitness no. The slight-of-hand mixture of curves makes viewers think in terms of curved grace, bodily contours, and straight riding crops. Digitizing low res “the” involved much guesswork, primarily experimenting with weight flexing in curves. The exact nature of the “h” ink trap’s depth, angle, and how severe (or subtle) the whole area leaned right into that rebound curve is likely worlds away from the original. One abandoned adaptation clipped the curve flat against the baseline, but it was if the flow became stunted, improperly grounded. Unexpectedly, lettering led to a fascinating crash course in the history of bodybuilding and how it masked or artfully blended mail order erotica and created a 30s gay icon/entrepreneur. 1 http://www.eugensandow.com/story2.html 2 http://www.lokmanbooks.com/index.php?page=shop.product_ details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=286&category_id=%20129&option=com_ virtuemart&Itemid=2&332c25b43a99a39361f1cad2bf90a6f3=99eea11a0d27473fc810f 45c2a3387aa 3 http://www.oldtimestrongman.com/blog/labels/Eugen%20Sandow.html
181 What looks good small might lose its sheen big. Consistently contradictory methods drive this site and declare I don’t adjust the spacing for whim or preservation’s sake. The excitable reader in me, not just the traditionalist typographic education etched into my post-script tracking bones, wants those letters to tighten up. Big and bare, “The” is no longer urgent as it shouts on the cover. Letters enlarge, so must the vacancy between them. Users would be best to cram those stems as tight as legibility and output can handle for the suspenseful effect compressed italic sans were historically perfected for (not to mention the now vacuous counters and gaping “e” aperture.) Bear with the tangent, but might the notion of tight spacing best sells EXCITEMENT be both economical as well as aesthetic? Busier tense flickering of dark and light positive/negative shapes make the links between eye-brain-nervous system trigger faster and harder? And, we were raised in an era of advertising descended from broadsides. Ink plus paper plus space (on and off the paper) equaled money so space was filled with tight headlines yielding greater copyfit as a result of thrift which became urgency’s look and feel? Scrollable (and “pinchable?”) screens become endless. How much longer will the notion of FILL ’ER UP last? When can tall letters track out beyond our current comfort zone? When, or has, the nineties’ broken rule returned as a viable option? Perhaps it is, perhaps this looks fine to the fresh-faced youth. To my eye, the “e” yawns, no danger is pending at The Farmhouse.
182 The 1970s comix scene is troublesome. I understand their desire to push an infantilized medium into adult content and breaking taste barriers* was a quick and blunt tool to do so. It tore down seeming tyranny Disney held upon talking animal story telling. Adult in age, Adult in seedy flashing neon content, Childish in packaging? My attempts to appreciate such comix always fall flat at the point of drugged monsters + women solely wearing thongs and battle axes. My curiosity about the craft and independent publishing holds out against personal content bias. Larry Todd’s¹ drafting is typical of the genre to my unlearned eye, bloated characters gone a little ripe crammed into dense backgrounds. His generation was raised on bouncy 1930s Fleischer cartoons and had a taste for body hair. Intently detailed organic bits, unmachined aesthetics, micro wobbles. Inky, messy, heavy coverage, blotter paper conditions. Horrifically cheap newsprint. A lone fanatic at the drawing table, doubtlessly sleepless. Out of artistry or necessity, the traditional comic pencils to inks to lettering production line was forgone and illustrators did their own titling. I doubt Todd was trained in commercial lettering, but he was obviously a meticulous draftsman who could rip looks from history and dedicate time to unimportant yet delicately adorned details. “The,” hidden in a nook of exposition bubbles (so much bold emphasis) and headlines is a nugget of goodness, a brilliant impersonation of typographic shapes. Why is the “h” connected at the base to the “T?” It is just as likely an improvised fix to a smudge between stems as it is guesswork at fancy letter anatomy, caricatured like the people. Equal weights and straight lines are unnecessary, this is cartooning for the stoned? Yet, it is still made legible with a laborious knockout highlight. 1 http://goldenagecomicbookstories.blogspot.com/2009/05/larry-todd-one-of-greatunderground.html
* t hat is lazily stated, for the lack of a better term. But, its unedited inclusion feels truer to their Damn the Man times and publishing, which did not care about such information like copyright.
107 The tendency to admire the naive is easy, but it is tricky thinking to equate: the more amateur the effort, the deeper its authenticity. That is a very punk notion. Type/lettering folk and punks share common aptitude to needlessly quibble over small details and how they signify something’s whole merit. I have never heard this 7” released on Tremor records, I only know local journalists deemed it punk. Any drivel on naivety and goodness is mine, because I admire the lettering in confusion. It is a punk deviation from connecting scripts and logical abstract doodling. Punk is two minute music with easy power chords, it is negligent for the sake of speed and middle fingers. The striving amateur letterer was dedicated to the jaggedy and inefficient craft of coloring in. Not speedy, but simple and focused. The haste of fluid calligraphy is impersonated with blunt outlining tools then shapes are filled by techniques many of us explored when idle with graph paper. As points connect along straight(ish) lines, shapes triangulate and a rudimentary typographic “stress” fizzles into being. Extrema are pulled in and through themselves, lines cross, analog Flash tween morphing is invoked. The sharp corners bulge with marker bleed because punk works on cheap absorbent paper. This is reconstructed calligraphy in slow tangram pieces. The time spent crafting such a brash punk script seems so unpunk. And was it amateur? A typographer would question too much about the inconsistent play of positive and negative shapes, so, probably. I’ve no idea anymore, it’s just good.
183 The little I know of this book: it was based on Gauguin’s life and met with scandal upon publication (burnt in a filming of Fahrenheit 451) for all the irresponsible libertine artiste urges? Society was shunned in the name of capital “A” Art. So too was typographic logic cast aside for the freedom of organic pen and brush strokes in the Bantam edition’s title. Caps do not match their lowercase by traditional standards. Caps do not match themselves. Two out of three (“T” and “M”) are what I generalize as Nonthreatening¹ Postwar² Modern³, built upon the legacy of Bodoni but drawn with cartoon squish and bounce for midcentury headlines4. Baselines wavered. Straight strokes swung gently, warped inward a little, like letters stretching after a nap. Sometimes waists, like the “T” here, are cinched a little, sucked in ensuring a gut is kept at bay. Lowercase serifs climb up above the usual ramrod straight clip, a more human touch with some historic precedent5. The lowercase x-height is inconsistent. Stress dips back to oldstyle. Relationships from thick to thin stay sparkly Modern, connections are fragile like candy floss and begin to pull pieces away from the “h” stem which looks unsettling and biological, as if the entry point was barbed? I don’t understand why serifless “h” feet ignore the logic of the single serifed “n.” Perhaps the transparency got damaged before press, features were lost. Perhaps the letterer could not be bothered by my narrow expectations of serif relations’ diversity. Philistine am I. 1 http://www.terminaldesign.com/Fonts/#/YoLucy/AboutDesign 2 http://littleowlski.wordpress.com/2010/09/10/womans-own-magazine-september9th-1954/ 3 http://www.flickr.com/photos/leifpeng/253256873/ 4 http://www.flickr.com/photos/leifpeng/77598919/ 5 http://www.stormtype.com/family-genre.html
184 Sometimes the printer is not your friend, sometimes history is left with androgynous cowboygirl legionnaires, and sometimes this is inspiring. As before¹, one variation is not fit to close my interest in this lettering. The core is fine, a sample of common early century arcing shapes bending to and around one another, a cohesive set which look like they shun the poor swash “y” in Grey as it’s just trying too hard. Next, the misregistered colors overlap to create special FX, possibly fitting: design by heat stroke in the wild west? “The” lettering can withstand this mechanical mistake, and shine for it, because the curves embrace the shift by softly merging with the overprint’s outline (morewithin the letter, not the likely intentional highlight rule). The parallel curves are dancey as befits a swashy wordmark. The sans on the other hand becomes vertically striated with many straight characters. Hard lines are not forgiving. So I made two. One plain because the source lettering’s intent was good, and the second toned because the printer’s sloppiness output a “better” accident. And, the poor “e” looks out of place without any ball terminals. This is frilly, for rugged yet fashionable cowboygirl. 1 http://thetheproject.com/post/1590765954/v1045
185 It is tempting to see this as a black sheep of the WPA’s Federal Theater Project¹. Criminal psychology and aesthetics aping the era’s titan German film industry (which would also work its way into the EG Robinson and Bogart film version released the same year due to director Anatole Litvak’s transEuropean stage and screen pedigree) don’t particularly fit the bolstering social goals of the program. But, doom and gloom sell best in bad times. But, the visuals. Tense wrists produce quick and sharp curves, fitting as suspicion bets silk screen films were made with knives rather than brushes. There are no bubbling strokes seen in other painterly FTP poster lettering. Ends are snipped clean rather than taper where a brush would flex and strain, thinning as edges join producing a nip/point which betrays direction of the signpainter’s exit stroke. Here, certain southeastern curves go awkward where an arm could no longer bend with grace and safety, when the artist opted for better control over surface bite of a sharp blade tip. Pure conjecture, but the downward arc of “The”’s “E” and “Clitterhouse”’s “C” do not look comfortable. Luckily, when a title is filled with long straight-stroked words like “DR. CLITTERHOUSE,” awkward round details easily exaggerate to shout louder from the crowded set. The secondary information, the Who, Where, and When of the poster, belong to that faux-inscriptional form of lettering which influenced the heavy² and³ disconnected4 70s5 styles pushed by ITC6? If only the FTP kept better records about the artists specially employed to make the posters, or the digital librarians cared enough to cite them. (S)he was responsible for several, all of them striking. 1 http://test.aladin.wrlc.org/gsdl/collect/ftpp/ftpp.shtml 2 http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/itc/eras/ 3 http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/adobe/itc-avant-garde-gothic/ 4 http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/itc/friz-quadrata/ 5 http://www.creativepro.com/article/scanning-around-gene-part-1-70s-type 6 http://blog.fonts.com/tag/ulc/
186 Now, some proper art appreciation of repetition and contrast for such a small ditty of sheet music ephemera (note this particular scan is cropped, it’s On not In the BEACH at BALI BALI.) Contrast: artist and letterer Jeff Miska emphasizes the words from script to roman but links the two smartly. Discipline kept things in a sans world, little to no flex in weight. Even while the script’s slope is so fierce and space tightens up, “Look at me!” diagonal emphasis is repeated in the “A”s which dominate the caps. The “E” foot even anchors the overt “A” diagonal with a snug slanted end unlike it’s two other cross strokes. Further contrast: all those circles in the art. But, all those zig zags everywhere else macro layout to micro lettering. Foreground people look -zig- to thoughtbubble people whom look -zag- to titling filled with -zigs- to -zags- in the script. Isolating “the” led into a little analytical bunker, deep dark subterranean tunnel vision. Sounds of worldly logic were ignored. “The” seemed organic despite the uniform weight and parallel logic driving its curveless course. Or, probably, I blew up a low resolution image and saw what I wanted. The lettering here, hand rendered as ever, “lived” in a way more machined diagonal sans/script/italic-y type does not. Not all strokes followed uniform trajectories. Some arced more. Some shear edges bubbled in the heat. I doubt Miska intended any of it, his vision may have been more precise, like 2012¹. Ink and fingers and paper just veered off course of their own volition, resulting in implied straight edges built by the slightest of curves. 1 http://www.london2012.com/
187 I never trusted Lombardic¹ lettering, nor uncials. There was genetical-level opposition, a flight instinct similar to gradeschool incomprehension toward doodled abstract swirls, paisley amoebas vining up hippy margins. Such shapes were root different from what I knew and trusted. I drew creatures driving motorcycles wearing sunglasses. Since, there has been flirtation then reconciliation with disquieting gooey letters. I approach them with an entomological distance, rubber gloved, holding tweezers analyzing the spider silk connections closing off counters (which should be open as we’re now accustomed), swaying snail eye stalk terminals. It’s fascinating how, when strung together as a block of text, the letters’ many beady eyes seem to watch you read through their tidal loopy movement, weaving in out and cycling backwards rather than push ever forward. Mixed case contemporary latin shapes, bedrock of our present day reading, evolved to mush through with a propulsive rhythm. Our cost of paper is not the luxury it was when 15th Century manuscripts² utilized these shapes for biblical contemplation. Information was slow, capitals and text were decorative to dazzle. Now we don’t have time, we like our efficient letters. So, revivals, Goudy³ and after, feel festive or just open ended historical4 kitsch5. Wyeth, or the uncredited title page letterer, even got the time period wrong considering the 14th Century 100 Years’ War subject matter in Doyle’s novel6. 1 http://cg.scs.carleton.ca/~luc/lombardic.html 2 http://paecht-archiv.univie.ac.at/ki/hzbg/hzbg_hss_webbilder/index_hzbg_ signaturenliste_en.html 3 http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/lanston/ltc-goudy-text/lombardic-caps/ 4 http://kourelis.blogspot.com/2010/09/1915-lombardic-letters-evans-building.html 5 http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/glc/1479-caxton-initials/ 6 http://goldenagecomicbookstories.blogspot.com/2010/11/n.html
188 Consider life in the 1890s. Ink was big business¹, but a tradesmanly one. Ault & Wiborg paid out to top talent². Boston Art Nouveau titan (and fellow pressman) William Bradley or Toulouse-Lautrec shilling ink was like Scorcese directing commercials for Final Cut Pro. Business to business advertising on a gorgeous scale. Design and art history have salvaged these for their beauty, but let’s not forget their original context. Colored chemicals for profit. But, the lettering… Bradley consulted with ATF³. He had chops, even if they tended to big flouncy display chops4. Big serifs. Eave serifs. Weaponized canopy serifs, bowing low with gravity to wicked points. Serifs to hold back the rain from above or thresh wheat down below. 1 http://www.colorantshistory.org/AultWiborg.html 2 http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=ault%20wiborg 3 http://www.willbradley.com/work/typ/index.htm# 4 http://www.fontbureau.com/fonts/bradleyinitials/
189 Tie bars, lapel pins, monogrammed cigarillo cases, and other manly finery. Not cars. Script this fine cannot cut it for mass market auto today. Cadillac is the only major manufacturer clinging to the swoop and swash of their historic identity or advertising. I type upon a phone looking out the bus window at parked-speed rush hour. Rear ends named in noncommittal sans, no enameled scripts¹ to be seen. Perhaps it makes technological sense. We’ve safely driven out of the human age. The disappearance of script might mark the last remnants of time when cars could be linked to hand craft in the making as well as (attainable) luxury in the buying? That’s a lot of speculation for one ad series’ lettering, but why not? Our contemporary relation to fine script should be scrapped. In 1939 unemployment was still 15% but businessmen were familiar with the penmanship of Zaner + Bloser manuals² as a matter of fluency. Very thick in touches but mostly very thin while very sloped. The script, despite subtle variations and capitals across competing publishers’ copy books, demanded strict adherence, a universal hand recognizable across the nation’s account books and correspondence. Not quite Arial-familiar, but not too distant either. Replicably handmade is an interesting notion we’re not used to today beyond crafting or cooking. Sounds like then. Industry was factory lines of people touching metal. Cars made by hand(s), sort of. Machine precision improved engineering, manufacturing, then park assist then smart driving google cars. Somewhere along the way the script stopped making sense, software doesn’t leave signatures this looped nor sloped upon its “handiwork.” Only executive business class associations stood. So the Lincoln Series K³ ad from then looks, now, like a gentlemanly bauble worn for style alone. “The” seems a manly broach unclasped. Once tailoring/ millinery came to mind, calligraphic license was taken with the exit strokes, honing them to pin points. How many business clerk ghosts dance on the head of fine lettering pins? 1 http://chromeography.com/tagged/script 2 http://www.zanerian.com/Penman.html
190 Suzie Wong’s significance, book to stage to film to ballet adaptations was unknown to me, before my mediaaware time. Some claim the story classic. Others may target it for any number of offenses: Estranged Westerner in an Exoticized Eastern Land. Saving the Hooker with a Heart of Gold. Pandering Pidgin English. Yellow Fever. Regardless, it stuck. Maybe “the west [America] was trying to prove they have gotten over racism” according to France Nuyen (Suzie on stage) or Ming Wen’s reductive speculation that “male fantasy for a pretty subservient concubine” is key? The character’s appeal, or attraction to postwar East/West culture clashed lovers schtick endured, revived as nightclubs on three continents, implying a lifestyle beyond story. The aesthetics range. It is curious to see which interpretations of nostalgia were adopted. Amsterdam and New York chose squared geometry of ebony window screens.¹ Beijing revived the film’s 60s gogo jetstream sans logo². Too much speculation over Brush Script titled 2010 novel retelling the story for today’s global economy³ could spiral into questioning whether the art director was typographically misinformed, a sad attempt at calligraphy, or meant it to look appropriately street-level OEM cheap in a fit of brilliance. Or, was it a contemporary typographic “retelling” of the hand lettered 1950s cover shown here? My favorite bit, is that the lettering coupled with the illustrated girl of indeterminate age (ignoring shifty shore leave sailor background and her brazen red nail polish) could very well be Suzie Wong Girl Detective/Reporter/Blogger. Harriet the Spy by way of Veronica Mars. Time and place are anywhere/when choker-collared dresses are fashionable on a girl with more determination than you. Handwritten script runs all vague directions, kid carefree or adult vice. It is Reiner Script4 to the (crooked) bone but changes in direction left globbier rounds unlike the chiseled look of Reiner. 1 http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2008/01/lotus_owner_offers_his_old_suz.html 2 http://www.chinatouronline.com/china-travel/beijing/beijing-nightlife/World-ofSuzie-Wong-Club_000722.html 3 http://www.amazon.com/Suzie-Leon-Pang/dp/0956613705 4 http://www.fontbureau.com/fonts/ReinerScript/
191 Lately, there has been less revision, less challenge in shapes shown. Inker’s tracings of selections held enough artistry to build commentary soapboxes upon. After hearing a Carter lecture, again, a nonexistent challenge was accepted to avoid thoughtless preservation leading to “taxidermy,” if only for the length of a post. This revisionist exercise was fun, but will be very short lived. It is doubtful anyone will take offense at adjusting Crack Comics’ lettered legacy, no matter how loved Gill Fox¹ may have been. This cover is hardly a cherished artifact nor cultural touch point, even for funny books. Bubbled sans are plentiful. What caught my eye was the contrast in plumpness within and outside the “E.” Its structure seemed upholstered, a stiff frame padded outward and minimal fluff around to the crossbar. I wondered whether the effect could sober up, deflate and approach the crop of recent mutant sans which smartly utilize shallow curves in all characters to upend possible boredom with straight-sided historical sans. Diminish the bounce and level out the interior angles. What if a sausage-link sans like VAG Rounded went to boot camp, trained under a humorless drill sergeant and came out with a broken spirit but lots of resolve? 1 http://www.twomorrows.com/alterego/articles/12fox.html
192 Changeling lettering. What happens when serifs are kidnapped by the lettering fairy? Overkill becomes feature. Perhaps “THE” ate of the fae food, drank the nectar, got stuck in their garden forever. Germinating, reshaping, growing extra bits, forsaking then forgetting its own legible heritage as it roots-in permanent. How might letters go native in a world of phoenixes and minor deities? Extraneous additions. Superfluous unknown biology. Indulgent letterers with little imagination might have taken that challenge and swashed out the little word till its actual width tripled with ever more decorative swoops, overpowering its function as definitive article. But, illustrator D. S. Walker twisted letter anatomy as tools to defy the common, within his layout’s spacing constraints. How many crossbars are too many? Why shouldn’t the “T” invade the “H”’s sovereignty, like creeping vines seeking some other plant’s water source, wild. No gardening sheers in sight. Waists and crossbars lift to the sun. I’m curious if left to their new magical flora state, out of sight, how might “THE” look in another 80 years?
193 Old Church Slavonic writing, as seen in decorative Russian Orthodox manuscripts which obviously influenced¹ illustrator Zvorykin², is innately fiery. Dancing and spiky. Violently pretty and so dizzying to my comfort zone. Flame lettering is obviously appropriate to the story, and so someone decided it ought to live on in translation. I don’t know who adapted Zvorykin’s early Cryillic letterforms to Latin (possibly the artist himself?) but they did an interesting if not “good” job of it. The amount of subtle variation (to connect or leave “R” bowls open?) makes me wonder whether bilingual Russians would look at this mingling, faux Cyrillic³, as insulting or aptly guided? For once it’s not used to mock or lionize Soviet-era strength, order, or severity and instead projects a “different degree of ‘Russianness,’” 4 the intricate and the historical pride absent from most of our contemporary (Western) notions of Russian aesthetics. The mind wanders to fuzzy Cold War political and cultural ramifications considering this book and “In the Russian Style” seemed to boom under Jacqueline Onassis’s tenure as an editor at Viking Press in the late 70s5. Perhaps that’s appropriate, Zvorykin did make the book while exiled in France during the Revolution, a gift to a Western employer6. 1 http://www.svclub.ru/?an=kommunalka-zvorykin 2 http://www.russianartandbooks.com/russianart/images/items/Ep00013.jpg 3 http://www.theworldofstuff.com/other/cyrillic.html 4 http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/popcult/handouts/adverts/goodones/ JKurland.html 5 http://www.netplaces.com/jacqueline-kennedy-onassis/literati/a-new-career.htm 6 http://forum.artinvestment.ru/blog.php?b=4872
194 This is the blockbusteriest of films that 1925 had to offer. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Stupendous Story of Adventure and Romance states the opening title¹. Or, Mighty Prehistoric Monsters Clash with Modern Lovers! as an alternate Professor Challenger character poster² proclaims. Stop motion thunder lizard gore! Actors with too much eye liner and harshly justified hand lettered interstitials! Generations’ poor archiving of painted promotional posters leads to wobbled intentions in digital revivals! The source was less than 100 pixels wide, but the crashing heavy wordmark was interesting enough to puzzle out. There is no such thing as “fidelity” in the digitization. Edges warp in the humidity (The Lost World is in South America). Soft arcs along each facet give the impression of inflating a jewel. Whatever the beastly intent of the letterer, “The” now has the severity of a ring pop or mylar balloon. Hints of a mold’s hardness are denied by materials used in mass production. Character recognition is reliant on very slight counters amidst all the heavy strokes. The “e” may have once been an inline, long faded yellow near invisible. And, that cantilevered swash of unusual proportions? Grecians tend to be extreme, stony monolithic, things but rarely are they “jaunty” enough to defy gravity so boldly. A support system is missing here, buttresses may be hidden using mirrors. I do not believe in the architectural trickery allowing that to stand. 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CQlsopTG88&feature=related 2 http://baker-street.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/lostworld1.jpg
195 Odd shapes are smoke screens for bad point placement or badly translated curve proportions. This is hardly faithful, I kept getting distracted by new ideas in letter features. Penman Costello merges Rhinoceros beetles and spiney conch shells, the segmentation of carapace armor and goth kids’ rings with the Latin alphabet. Light in weight but prickly and possibly borrowed from blackletter leftover by Pennsylvania’s German population? There is a polite lie in “reviving” lettering like this then allowing it to live with so few kinks in its edges. It was scratchy, as can be expected from enlarging handwritten body text. Unless the coarseness of an outline is a feature, intended by the penman to be a fight between ink and toothy paper, I see little need to digitize it. What captures the eye and the head here is the conflict between wide swoop swash and tightwristed disconnected letter construction. Considering the deliberate stencil-like approach, I emphasized the overlap of strokes in curves. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? Can I show how many hand movments are necessary for Costello to build a swash? But, why is the “e” complete? To count the component strokes of one “h” (including that extraneous armor piercing ascender horn ) then glance at the density of the source memorial text is to feel the dedication to repeat that sequence over and achingly over. Respectful dilligent tendonitis.
196 After rounds of “the”s lettered with (relatively) elaborate contours and alien features, a simple sans was called for. Simple does not mean vanilla. I consider it a reset, a typographic palette cleanser. Beefy weights with thinner cross bars in the tradition of Gill Kayo have become Comedy Sans to me due to frequent use on PG movie posters. Proportion here is different from Gill, but the non-militant friendliness is similar. That “e” winks. Or, the slight counter and small aperture in the “e” accentuates its strong jaw as weight does not lessen as is customary in some gothics. It’s only missing a cleft. Fittingly, one of Barclay’s sailor subjects said “Really, we were skinny kids with our ribs hanging out. I said to him, ‘I don’t look like that!’ and he answered, ‘Well, if I sketched you like you are, it wouldn’t make much of recruiting poster, now would it?’”¹. While Barclay was an iconic painter, and experimental jet camouflager, his sketches for titles and placement don’t suggest he was responsible for the boisterous lettering used on his posters. Perhaps some unnamed recruitment office commercial artist had a knack for jocular lettering which would buy you a beer on leave. 1 http://www.history.navy.mil/ac/artist/b/barclay/barclay%201.html
197 And baby makes 100. Come see the screwball 3D sans mismatch a story about Navajo and Fed agent clashing, racism, horse swindling, patriotism, enlistment, The Great War, and broken promises! This sans has joy buzzers and whoopie cushions in mind, not the weighty conflicts of The Vanishing American’s story. It makes me wonder whether 1920s Hollywood didn’t believe in advertising according to plot, or in targeting audiences. Maybe vivid color and westerns was enough to put butts in seats. Anything to jar the eye and demand attention, including confusing “inappropriate” lettering. I look at the overlapping baselineless angled shapes and think on how many contextual alternates it would take for an OpenType font to recreate this sort of complexity as a tool. The engineering feat, as an act of logic and intelligent coding would be more artful than the visual product. Incredibly smart fonts producing questionably dumb typesetting is not worth it. This sort of goofiness is best lettered, by hand, custom-fit for the job, because the number of occasions bouncy 3D sans is the best option cannot outnumber the hours or dollars dedicated to replicating its effect in software.
198 “Decorations by W Aylward” is honest. “Decoration” is a term rarely used today given the serious emphasis attributed to DESIGN and the puffed-chest academic shamanism it takes to wield it. Honesty is refreshing. It’s only a poem, with illustrations and fancier titles than normal. Scribner’s Magazine dealt high definition entertainment in 1913, it was America’s first mass market rag to include COLOR illustrations (1887). Leading talent was commissioned to dazzle audiences. Lettered decorations along The Way to Inde pass through heat distortion, fluttering romances, shimmering confusion, and other trespasses. So, which South Asian script¹ is this lettering approximating? Probably all of them, pulled from Aylward’s recollections of people in overheated environments with wavy flags and symbols which looped in and out of themselves breaking Latin logic. The horizontal stroke topping the “W” is a little Lombardic² and excusably close for a seafaring Wisconsonian referencing linear connections in Devanagari or Bengali, but has little relation to other typographic conventions on his page. The Way to Inde is mapless, adrift, and beset with guesswork. It picked up a backswooping “d” from some colony using early engraved French type. This confusion, or playfulness, is why I love it. Freed and odd. The strange beast has interesting contrasts, strong verticals in stems with rigidly bored (drilled) counters, like they’ve been tunneled into. Antfarm negative space? A lot of the action here is in the small shapes. The minimal counters, small gestures amplified by so much surrounding black, movement implied by inky little feet kicking out exit strokes (“h” up, “e” down), while partnering stems suction tight to the baseline. The lumpiness of the brush and ink curdles where multiple overlapping strokes define a curve. Inked with oatmeal. I stopped while debating how much bump and melt to apply to the “h” ascender serif-blob, questioning whether or not this could be approached as an eastern cousin to Cooper Black, and it seemed like a terrible idea. 1 http://www.hindirinny.com/?p=159 2 http://thetheproject.com/post/7462226078/v1187
199 An adventure that will blaze… A love that will flame… ‘Till the stars grow cold… is illustrated as a strident horse-andcamel epic ranging from the UK to a plate tectonically confused Euraisafrica. Impetuous adventure. Brush lettering is flared for the swashbuckling men in turbans, some condensed romans dance for western blondes in red heels. Here, multiple layered brush strokes were required to build up weight but leave tell tale hillocks at overlaps, artifacts which betray the hand of the letterer. I decided to exaggerate them and regulate the quirks into features. Certain of the digitization’s traditionally flat(ish) bases’ stroke ends now have arcing shapes emerging from the severed ends. The “h” ascender deserves a logical corner joining two true trajectories. A respectable point, perhaps just a little blunted from the brush’s glob of ink. Instead, the sure shot is interrupted by a spear point jutting northeast. This is no longer a mistake of naturally occurring doubled strokes with performance enhancement but a new shape emerging from within, or overlapping the silhouette? Where the emergent shapes are potentially violent in the flats, bladed, the curved strokes were also emphasized with cushioning bloats in the “T” top swash and “e” round. Sharp and soft. Adventure and love. Conquest and comfort.
200 It looks like a lettering exercise. Here is a Speedball B¹ knibbed pen, you have quite a little bit of space to between the Dell logo and “ONE.” Give us a “The.” You have two minutes. [Dip. Scritch. Scratch. Swoop. Done.] Hasty and instinctual and tight, all of which is fitting. The cramped squirm of the “h” writhes like the pinned man in sad yellow socks, all the more humane for its discomfort next to solid, inevitable crime block gothics. Victimlettering. Swiped from UK Vintage². 1 http://image.timepassagesnostalgia.com/watermarked/images76/7698speedballb.jpg 2 http://www.flickr.com/photos/42080330@N03/3919562153/
201 As a formal exercise, it is interesting to push stress a particular direction. Out of comfort into out-of-whack. Weight emerges in the stacked text, as if washed out from dramatic foot lighting. Skinny feet broadening into wide shoulders. The “G”s break the trend and will be ignored. What’s interesting is the useful way the gentle increase builds horizontally letter by letter to add emphasis within the stacked and justified text, it takes a very strict and confining method of arranging headlines and offers movement. The stack turns segmented and ethereal rather than industrially still, able to bare heavy loads. Smokey. Wafty. That episodic shift in upward stress always resets at the harshest contrast (baseline to cap height). New line, new event. Extracted from the layout, “The” looks goofy to contemporary eyes. Looming letters now belong to retro-minded fright night flicks or the jumpy cartoons which need type to match animated contortion. Outside of the block, they look extreme. Bradley’s high contrast art makes the lettering less extreme given all the competition and pattern in the background. I’m guessing the magazine is about cooking? It was published by a stove and ranges company which only lasted for a few years. Maybe the blew their budget on Bradley, 1896 was the final year.
202 Start strong. Fumble the middle bit. End strong. Few notice. The rush to isolate that clamorous “The” is over, an uncomfortable contemplation of logic governing these letters is all that’s left. The remainder of this perfumey script is a difficult blend of typographic and calligraphic attepmts. It’s built on the familiarity of Bernhard¹ and² contemporary’s³ Deco advertising type work but had 30ish years’ time to get muddy with nostalgia and lettering laziness. It is 1960 though you would never know it by the illustration, and maybe that’s the point. Start strong, “The” has fiery conviction, swash upon big capital thrusting swash. Fumbling the middle bit, the calligraphy attitude stops, entering a state of stylized Modern-ish italic4 implying a formal script but abandoning the genre’s customary connecting strokes. The strategy is forgiving in metal type, no fiddly bits to get mangled and ruin the illusion. Open letterspacing like this gets (more) permissive, no stray entry and exit hairlines looking like unfinished statements halting the effortless grace of a script to a stutter. Then some typographic hair extension descenders were clipped into place. Long strictly straight strokes retain little of “The”’s joy. They look, sadly, one size fits all. End strong, the script-like italic finds its voice. Characters such as the “f”s receive due “The”-like flourishes rather than the baseline blunted stroke used for “of.” Image swiped from mikeyashworth5. 1 http://www.myfonts.com/search/%28lucian+bernhard+script%29/fonts/” 2 http://dailytypespecimen.com/post/29486193624/raleigh-cursive-specimen 3 http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/adobe/coronet/ 4 http://www.marksimonson.com/article/213/introducing-filmotype-zanzibar 5 http://www.flickr.com/photos/36844288@N00/4394946214/
203 Imagining “interstellar” tourism in letterform. That “Space” single story “a” is a poddy little delight. Round structures work beyond our atmosphere where there is no drag and a leisurely cruise pace can be enjoyed peering out portholes¹. The lettering might add a familiar touch of broad-nibbed first class place settings but it certainly would not have been my first guess of how a 1950s² cover artist would interpret a 1920s idea of space travel. A trinket of print wear or scanning defaced the barest nubbin of growth onto the “T” entry stroke. Science fiction has taught me space is filled with parasitic creatures which hide until outgrowing the host in the second act, causing everything to fall apart. This artifact was kept in the digitization, a decorative spur, the prettiest little space potato eye. It is just starting to germinate. The Skylark club room’s oaklined lettering walls may be infested… Image swiped from Golden Age Comic Book Stories³. 1 http://media.smithsonianmag.com/images/Richard-Branson-631.jpg 2 http://efanzines.com/EK/eI51/index.htm 3 http://goldenagecomicbookstories.blogspot.ca/2011/04/e.html
204 That “T” and “h” combination looks like it was made by auto people, described to shaky-handed engineers without consulting the art department, because they would flounce it up with something unnecessary. It could have been messily calligraphic but the stand-in artist stuck to pen (notice the blobbed weight at the joins) so it appears routed or etched. Linear metallic processes, barely arty. It’s a formal invitation. Shallow dips and mostly parallel lengths, calligraphic end strokes follow the logic of running boards and door seams, lots of machine replicable grid lines which have to incorporate the nuisance of wheels. The embellishment in the connecting stroke between the “he” has a lovely upswing to balance out the sweeping motion in the “T” bar and “h” ascender, as above so below. After the engineer must have labored over the first three letters, they handed it back to the artist to finish “The Motor Carriage of Perfect Comfort,” who went swash happy and gave up on proportioned restraint. Image swiped from Mikeyashworth¹. 1 http://www.flickr.com/photos/36844288@N00/4595856925/”
205 Happy Valentine’s Day, through the medium of interpretative serif lettering. Illustrator Joyce Mercer’s inspired angular take on capitals is tricky but consistent across her many Hans Christian Andersen story titles¹. The connecting diagonal crossbars have little typographic precedent, but work stacked alongside fairy tale thorn bushes and spinous architecture. Much was nudged in digitization, weight ratios aren’t as erratic (look at the “T” top serifs), and the smudgily dented “E” crossbar is pounded out for better ventilation. The exercise ignored all curves, for no decent reason. The original pen work was nicely clipped, it seemed fitting. Image swiped from finsbry. 1 http://lukefarookhi.blogspot.com/2009/08/joyce-mercers-illustrations-for-classic.html
206 C. B. (Charles Buckles) Falls did archly good and illegible¹ things to letters in the early 1900s. While his sober and touching wartime Victory posters for the US Military and colorful children’s ABC books are most known, this psychogothidelic approach to calligraphy demands notice. It seems when limited to black and white, Falls indulged in something a little wicked². His attempts to merge swooping Hokusai-style Eastern graphics with Western decorative manuscript tradition is hardly smooth, but exciting. Lots of thrust and oomph in the swash cap and “h” flyaway distract from how little information and control was penned into the remainder of the characters. Such new careless shapes are more interesting. Little arrowhead punches for feet. Swash curves veer too close to stem structures or misjudge their crossovers, kinking out of synch with bad timing. 1 http://docsouth.unc.edu/southlit/johnson/cover.html 2 http://thegoldenagesite.blogspot.com/2011/01/c.html
207 This is not the fine shaping and tracery of manuscript monks, it’s a lively imitation emboldened by late 20s Modernity. Some Good Women raced motorcycles¹ rather than threw themselves upon swords like sad Lucretia. The lettering’s bulbous and unusually top heavy in the rounds, a telling trait I’ve not seen in any related historical samples. The flexure in the stems is so extreme, the practically disconnected thin to thick strokes in the horizontals. Thin serifs probe their neighbor’s letter space like antenna, not content to keep to themselves. The penmanship is choice and unstable, especially the opener’s² “HE” ligatures. They are conjoined letters, product of a genetic tendency to merge and disregard harmony, not a considered deft calligraphic blended pair. Weeble wobble drunktank serifs I love you. Style beats history. 1 http://speedtracktales.wordpress.com/index-of-isdt-events/isdt-1928-england/ 2 http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/18784/lot/128/
208 If the voice is “on the wire,” semingly a tale of terrible telephony and audible horror, why be masked? Goggled eyes and a gleeful smile suggest something unhinged. Forced arcing lettering does not help, confusing us in the round without baselines. Maybe it will distract us from being curious about inept antagonists? When there is little horizontal stability, even a single letter sits upon two planes, it is simple to misplace vertical direction as well. Parallel stems in the “H” teeter toward one another implying a head-on collission, just one small hint of movement in three letters near locking together. The “T” cross bar almost aligns its overlap with left “H” stem, the right stem almost landing upon “E”’s baseline. It’s ust a plain crazy sans menace confounding letterers and nickel detectives alike.
209 The CSI game is to wonder what sort of waxen lettering melted in the sun to form such doughy shapes? Glyphic serifs? Something gradual, not sharp, without aggressive contrast considering the bracketed lumps are so gradual. Was it badly spaced or obliqued a bit to form ligatures and have the “T” thrust into the “H” that way? Or might it be progression, a horror story’s ectoplasm lettering bubbling into being, half formed with larval serifs… “A silent challenge is hurled at the mind of the player to be met on a cardboard battlefield.”
210 This is possibly one of the most elegant, or just confident, “The”s I’ve worked on. It could have horsepower under the top bar’s curves, and soars along the cap height macho enough for motorsport branding. But, The Room’s a bar where top hats ought be doffed, so the letters are boozy bon mots. They probably shouldn’t drive, they probably left their cane behind, but they told some of the stories they promised they wouldn’t and everyone laughed. As happy as the brushy lettering makes me, I’m equally as sad I don’t remember who took the photo. Apologies to the uncredited.
211 Sometimes it is possible to see when a lettering artist stumbles on their system. The smart Lydian kinda fit knib blackletter sorta notions served well through this headline until the construction logic broke. Usually it’s something with a complex blend of curves like “g” or a “W” where all diagonals cannot hold a normal stem’s weight without running criminally wide. But here, it seems the over-thick “e” and wide “a” made some trouble. The curve of choice was not meant to go all the way round, which could stylistically make the “s” a squiggly vertical but “c” “e” and “a” have nothing in common. But “the” alone is a beauty. Why isn’t there more contrast where the two curves join at the center of the reverse “3?” It’s only sheet music.
212 This is 1908. These shapes are pre deco romance. A little sanguinous, biological, for popcorn Vaudeville (and let’s hope not blatantly racist) entertainment. Not far from the odd decorative aggression Mucha perfected. Discordant. Those shapes are now for dated heavy metal and safe embraces of darkness. This is also the mid nineties sharp toothed Hollywood vampire lettering of Margo Chase, and the lazy adoption of the font Abaddon for Queens of Stone Age or Godsmack album art. The “E” could thresh wheat. There are scimitars in all these shapes put to (un?)holy use. Any gothic ornate ritual romance of church aesthetics which was later pulled into metal, horror, and fantastical subcultures was typically a serious appropriation. For entertainment to have churchy lettering and language, the effort was to import some solemn tone. Devotion to some malevolence on display. Ann Rice levels of “it’s not a laughing matter.” Not popcorn song and dance. This undercuts all the pretension. It is miraculous.
213 Some creeping bubbling ivy took root int the glyphic “T” and there is little time until it has breached the distinction between tended decorative nature and invasive. Also, the “E”’s overbite crossbar is adorable.
214 When the “T” includes petite arrowheads, multi-toned incised diamonds well above and beyond the call of moneyed swashes, overlooking the Berkel-sliced breath of separation in the “h.” And was that intentional? Did the hairline fill when printed? And why wasn’t the connection to the “e” equally separated? Revival quandries. No clue. Perhaps because I want the advertised car to have been hand-built with outdated beautiful tools, the imagined lettering process utilized delicatessen hardware and burrins.
215 The spiral is so orderly, more like a watch spring than a fanciful decoration. Definitely not the chaos of “aeroplane” fly by eddys. The tail of the “t” converging with the “h” to start the motion is a nice touch.
216 Bonus confusion. At one point, the gaping counter of the “T” swash might have been decoratively passable, but when the exit swash curved back in so tight, reading suddenly faltered and the otherwise graceful shape entered big “e” or overly caligraphic “C” territory. Such are the illegible risks when combining excess swashes with latinate “V” for “U” swaps within a single title.
217 The expected 3-D faceted interconnection and diagonal sans was interesting enough to include. The invested time to revive it included a histant question. To be true to the poster and highlight the lettering artist’s misfired shadows as interesting? Or revert them to what we know they should be at a glance, straight shot parallel, without lumps. Coffin-carpentry precise. But, it looks wrong so large, some of the “e”’s contents under pressure were left in the heat. Why does the inward crook of the “T” swash get dimension? For context, this approach is neither sussurous quiet like a whisper, nor ethereal dark like a shadow. But, the word “SHADOW” has literal shadowed depth. Legosi’s top-billed dread stateliness cannot undo the redundant clunk of building block letters which don’t follow their own rules of construction.
218 That shape has never been a “T.” Really. Not in any manual I’ve ever seen. It’s an intruding non latin glyph, smuggling one lone serif into the poster segment. Soon the invasive species will take over. I'm guessing this was a test print or one sheet of a larger tiled ad for a WPA theater project.
219 “Ghost Patrol” is lettered with clunky weight shifts and roughened edges, quickly it would seem without much care. “The” gives the impression of a quick draft as well, but a deft one. There is some surprising finesse in those tightly spaced three letters. Ghost Patrol bounces and travels ignoring the slab serif’s logical baseline and xheight. Strokes forming “The” move in strict formation and imply a smooth 50-ish degree upswing as trajectory arcs from the “T”’s swash entry through “h” x-height and capital “E” biform’s overshooting following through. The curved baseline also betrays the control of a skilled leterrer where “Ghost Patrol” implies a tank’s subtlety.
220 To do this properly would include both tiny double wide “THE” topping the layout along with the average greedy wide “THE” redrawn. If only the word appeared more, it could have been a family set to represent the three, or four(?) widths of Euro travel chic modern sans lettering used within the poster. By design nurture or brushed nature, the slight flaring at the ends of the horizontal “E” strokes make the familiar extended approach noteworthy.
221 Oz appreciates its oddity and confused borders. Ribbony disconnected script or flourished sans or why bother with the classification systems at this point when little entrance stroke serifs on “h” confuses the matter. It’s lovable and awkward for all reasons. The precision and straight trajectory of that “T” swash steals attention from the afterthought “e” whose counter is itching to break out of its ink shell.
222 My points of reference are too limited. Condensed blackletter-like titles are typically dense to fit lengths of historic German bible tracts. Edges were crisp, severity to match strict lessons. Not here. Years of lax Pennsylvanian letter generations softened old world rigor. “Philadelphian” reads like a font designed before smart OpenType alternates which could vary the ascender uniformity. Each reaches the same height, lilts forward at the same angle. Shades of ancestral rigor are apparent, but the style is flavorless for it with five sequential every-other occurrences. “The” enjoys just the one ascender pitch, where it can be enjoyed for its subtlety, and gives it a tightly spaced dance partner “T” swash which approaches from a contrasting shallow approach which then rises, anticipating some performance any moment when the two connect. I am quite the sucker for the moments to be found in slender calligraphy.
Initial publish dates and guessed Copyright. Most reproductions were taken from amateur web archivists. Little was cited. 001 September 3rd 2010 002 September 4th, 2010 003 September 4th, 2010 004 September 7th, 2010 © Paramount 005 September 8th, 2010 006 September 9th, 2010 007 September 9th, 2010 008 September 9th, 2010 009 September 9th, 2010 010 September 9th, 2010 011 September 9th, 2010 012 September 9th, 2010 014 September 9th, 2010 015 September 9th, 2010 023 September 9th, 2010 046 September 9th, 2010 © Elbert Hubbard, the National Registry of Historic Places, or the various Roycroft trusts 047 September 9th, 2010 © Philadelphia Blended Whiskey, Linfield Distillery, Liberty Magazine 049 September 9th, 2010 © Gold Medal Books, Murray Leinster 050 September 9th, 2010 © C.L. Willis 051 September 9th, 2010 © Bantam Books 054 September 9th, 2010 © MGM. 063 September 9th, 2010 065 September 9th, 2010 ©1965 Cardinal Editions and Walter Ross 067 September 9th, 2010 © Bantam Books or Albert Zugsmith. 068 September 9th, 2010 © Popular Library. 071 September 9th, 2010 © Fawcett Crest 073 September 9th, 2010 © Gold Medal Books and John D. MacDonald. 074 September 9th, 2010 © Signet Books and Poul Anderson 075 September 9th, 2010 © EMI, Bell Coin Matics, and W.A. Gullick 081 September 9th, 2010 ©1874 Harry J. Weston and W.A. Gullick. 082 September 9th, 2010 © The London Philharmonic Orchestra and CBS Records 083 September 9th, 2010 © The London Philharmonic Orchestra and CBS Records 084 September 9th, 2010 © Commando 085 September 9th, 2010 © Mercury Records 086 September 9th, 2010 ©1943 Wright Silver Cream Company and Vernon Grant 087 September 9th, 2010 ©1965 Decca Records 089 September 9th, 2010 ©1939 20th Century Fox 091 September 9th, 2010 ©1939 Regal Zonophone and Chick Henderson 092 September 9th, 2010 ©1930 Universal Studios 093 September 9th, 2010 ©1953 Cosmopolitan 095 September 10th, 2010 ©1947 RKO 096 September 10th, 2010 ©1957 Liberty Pictures 102 September 15th, 2010 © Gold Medal Books 106 September 20th, 2010 © Dick Wordley/ 108 September 20th, 2010 © Postage Stamp Machine Co. 114 September 27th, 2010 ©1957 Walt Disney Magazine, illustration by Paul Hartley 115 October 3rd 2010 ©1946 Pathe Industries, Inc. 130 October 7th, 2010 ©1934 First National and Warner Bros. Pictures 132 October 13th, 2010 ©1948 Paramount Pictures, Inc. 145 October 18th, 2010 ©1951 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
151 October 21st, 2010 ©1950 Universal Studios 152 October 22nd, 2010 ©1955 Universal International Pictures 165 January 19th, 2011 ©1961 Four Crown Productions, Inc. and Dell 167 October 25th, 2010 ©1935 Universal Pictures 169 October 28th, 2010 ©1970–75 Sphere or Brian J. Frost 153 November 1st, 2010 ©1930 Curtis Publishing and Frank Schoonover 154 November 4th, 2010 ©1936 King Features Syndicate and Lee Falk 155 November 8th, 2010 ©1936 WPA Federal Art Project and E.H. Krause 076 November 10th, 2010 ©1940-something Brown Shoe Company 045 November 16th, 2010 ©1960 Harper & Bros and John Masters 156 November 18th, 2010 ©1920-something Jack Mills, Inc. or Sam Coslow 157 November 23rd 2010 158 November 30th, 2010 ©1908 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Smith, Elder & Co 159 December 2nd, 2010 ©1920 L Frank Baum and Reilly & Lee 160 December 7th, 2010 ©1970 Gold Key or their proper owners 161 December 10th, 2010 ©1927 H. W. Gossard Co. 162 December 15th, 2010 ©1957 The MacMillan Company and Tom Hamil 163 December 24th, 2010 ©1960 British Rail and Eric Fraser 173 January 4th, 2011 ©1969 DeLuxe Pictures and Joseph W. Sarno 164 January 11th, 2011 ©1906 John H. Cowlishaw and Edward A. Bowen 165 January 19th, 2011 ©1961 Four Crown Productions, Inc. and Dell 166 January 27th, 2011 ©1910 R. DIon and The Rapid 174 February 4th, 2011 ©1957 Scripto and F. Siebel 168 February 11th, 2011 ©1945 Rex Stout, Dell, or Farrar & Rinehart (1939 if so) 170 February 16th, 2011 ©1926 The Shrine 171 March 3rd 2011 ©1938 Edgar Rice Burroughs and John Coleman Burroughs 172 March 14th, 2011 ©1947 The Strand and Edward Ardizzone 175 March 23rd 2011 © E.C. Atkins and Company 176 March 30th, 2011 ©1941 Warner Bros. Pictures 177 April 13th, 2011 ©1902 L.C. Page & Co and Charles G.D. Roberts 178 April 22nd, 2011 ©1961 Ace Magazine and Ted Mark 179 April 29th, 2011 ©1946 Popular Library and George F. Worts 180 May 14th, 2011 ©1930-something Tony Sansone or Edwin Townsend 181 May 22nd, 2011 ©1950 Helen Reiley and Dell 182 June 9th, 2011 ©1975 and ™Larry Todd and Last Gasp Eco Funnies 107 June 15th, 2011 ©1978 The Twenty Seven and Tremor 183 June 22nd, 2011 ©1950 W. Somerset Maugham and Bantam Books 184 June 27th, 2011 ©1916 or 1921 Zane Grey and Grosset & Dunlap 185 July 2nd, 2011 ©1938 Barré Lydon and Federal Art Project 186 July 9th, 2011 ©1935 Al Sherman and Joe Morris Music Co 187 July 10th, 2011 ©1922 A. Conan Doyle, N.C. Wyeth, and David McKay Co. 188 July 14th, 2011 ©1898 William Bradley and The Ault & Wiborg Co. 189 July 22nd, 2011 ©1939 Lincoln 190 August 4th, 2011 ©1957 Richard Mason and Fontana Books 191 August 5th, 2011 ©1940 Gill Fox and Quality Comic Group 192 August 23rd 2011 ©1923 Hans Christian Andersen, Dugald Stewart Walker; and Doubleday, Page and Co. 193 August 26th, 2011 ©1930 then ©1978 Boris Zvorykin and L. Frikatelli then Viking Press 194 September 1st, 2011 ©1925 First National Pictures 195 September 9th, 2011 ©1920-something Patrick W Costello 196 September 12th, 2011 ©1941 Naval Art Collection and McClelland Barclay 197 September 17th, 2011 ©1925 Famous Players-Lasky Corporation 198 November 11th, 2011 ©1913 W. J. Aylward and Scribner’s Magazine 199 December 31st, 2011 ©1950 20th Century Fox
200 February 2nd, 2012 201 March 31st, 2012 202 December 11th, 2012 Hamlets 203 December 31st, 2012 204 January 16th, 2013 205 February 14th, 2013 206 February 27th, 2013 207 June 20th, 2013 208 2020 209 2020 210 2020 211 2020 212 2020 213 2020 214 2020 215 2020 216 2020 217 2020 218 2020 219 2020 220 2020 221 2020 222 2020
©1949 Dell and Helen McCloy ©1896 William Bradley ©1960 The Metropolitan Borough of Stepney or Tower ©1950 FFF and Frank R Paul ©1924 Armstrong Siddeley Motors Ltd ©1920 Joyce Mercer ©1908 C. B. Falls and Everybody’s Magazine ©1928 Hugh Chesterman and Shakespeare Head Press ©1900 TK ©1969 Web of Horror ©1900 TK ©1932 TK ©1908 TK ©1900 TK ©1917 TK ©1911 TK ©1928 TK ©1933 TK ©1900 TK ©1900 TK ©1923 TK ©1900 TK ©1956 TK
Tags, numerical 001 connecting script, movie, pen-based 002 connecting script, movie, pen-based 003 shadow, movie, slab, caps 004 serif, movie 005 serif, movie, sans 006 shadow, sans, movie, caps 007 toned, blackletter, shadow, bevel, movie 008 serif, movie 009 toned, connecting script, movie 010 brush script 011 movie, caps 012 sans, thin, movie, caps 014 toned, movie, shadow, connecting script, pen-based 015 movie, ragged, shadow, caps, distressed 023 toned, blackletter, movie, penbased 046 stencil, book, American, 1909 047 connecting script, Spencerian, Ad, 1940s 049 book, interlocking, caps 050 sheet music 051 book, brush 054 movie, sans, caps 063 poster, 1920s, monoline, serif, lowercase 065 bevel, book, caps, sans, toned, 1960s 067 interlocking, sans, caps, book 068 book, brush 071 sans, distressed, toned, book 073 caps, sans, book 074 rounded, book, brush 075 1970s, slab, rounded, toned, book, caps, serif 081 serif, lowercase, poster, 1870s, Australian 082 poster, 083 connecting script, album, pen-based 084 toned, caps, sans, book, brush, lettering 085 connecting script, pen-based, Spencerian, album 086 book, brush, 1940s 087 monoline, connecting script, album, rounded, 1960s 089 blackletter, movie, distressed, 1930s, sherlock holmes 091 1930s, album, lowercase, connecting script, brush 092 caps, serif, wedge, 1930s, movie 093 connecting script, magazine,
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180 script, connecting, swash, 1930s, magazine 181 1950s, book, condensed, italic, sans 182 comic, connecting, script, 1970s 107 1970s, distressed, lowercase, music, ragged, script 183 book, serif, book, 1950s 184 script, Toned, book, 1910s 185 sans, theater, 1930s, poster 186 1930s, connecting, script, lowercase, sheet music 187 1920s, lombardic, manuscript, book, doyle 188 ad, serif, caps, 1890s 189 connecting, script, 1930s, ad 190 script, brush, lowercase, 1950s, book 191 1940s, sans, caps, comic, rounded 192 1920s, book, serif, caps 193 caps, 1930s, book, pen-based 194 movie, 1920s, swash, grecian, slab, serif 195 1920s, swash, stencil, script, Penbased, poster 196 1940s, lowercase, poster, sans 197 1920s, Toned, caps, poster, shadow, sans 198 script, brush, 1910s, magazine 199 movie, brush, 1950s, poster 200 book, script, monoline, 1940s 201 magazine, sans, 1890s 202 1960s, script, swash, ad, italic,. 203 1950s, script, Pen-based,. 204 script, connecting, monoline, 1920s, ad,. 205 book, serif, 1920s, caps, wedge,. 206 1900s, swash, blackletter, magazine,. 207 1920s, book, serif, Pen-based,. 208 TK 209 1960s, comic, rounded, toned 210 TK, script, brush 211 1930s, sans, sheet music 212 1900s, serif, wedge, sheet music, caps 213 1800s, serif, caps 214 1910s, script, toned, ad 215 1910s, book, sans, italic, interlocking 216 1920s, book, script 217 1930s, poster, shadow, interlocking, toned 218 sans, stencil 219 script, comic 220 1920s, ad, sans, caps 221 book, sans 222 1950s, blackletter, magazine, toned
Tags, alphabetical 1870s 081 1890s 188 1890s 201 1900s 046, 158, 164, 177, 206, 212 1910s 166, 184, 198, 214, 215 1920s 063, 075, 156, 159, 161, 170, 187, 192, 194, 195, 197, 204, 205, 216, 220 1930s 089, 091, 092, 130, 167, 153, 155, 180, 185, 186, 189, 193, 211, 217 1940s 047, 086, 095, 108, 115, 132, 168, 171, 176, 179, 191, 196, 200 1950s 093, 096, 106, 114, 145, 152, 162, 174, 181, 183, 190, 199, 203, 222 1960s 087, 165, 045, 065, 163, 173, 165, 178, 202, 209 1970s 169, 160, 182, 107 ? 001, 002, 003, 004, 005, 006, 007, 008, 009, 010, 011, 012, 014, 015, 023, 049, 050, 051, 054, 067, 068, 071, 073, 074, 082, 083, 084, 085, 102, 151, 154, 076, 157, 175, 210, 213 Ad 047, 076, 161, 166, 167, 174, 188, 189, 202, 204, 214, 220 Album 083, 085, 087, 091, 107 Bevel 007, 065 Blackletter 007, 023, 089, 159, 206, 222 Book 045, 046, 049, 051, 065, 067, 068, 071, 073, 074, 075, 084, 086, 102, 106, 158, 159, 162, 165, 168, 169, 171, 175, 179, 181, 183, 185, 187, 190, 192, 193, 200, 205, 215, 216, 221 Brush 010, 051, 068, 074, 076, 084, 086, 091, 130, 157, 176, 190, 198, 199, 210 Caps 003, 006, 011, 012, 015, 030, 045, 049, 054, 065, 067, 073, 075, 084, 092, 095, 096, 102, 108, 114, 115, 145, 132, 151, 152, 154, 155, 156, 158, 164, 166, 169, 171, 174, 177, 188, 191, 192, 193, 197, 205, 212, 213, 220 Comic 154, 160, 182, 191, 209, 219 Connecting 001, 002, 005, 009, 014, 047, 076, 083, 085, 087, 091, 093, 159, 160, 161, 162, 167, 175, 177, 178, 180, 182, 186, 189, 204 Distressed 015, 071, 089, 106, 107 Flared 096, 160 Interlocking 045, 049, 067, 215, 217 Italic 154, 181, 202, 215 Lowercase 063, 076, 081, 091, 107, 157, 160, 176, 186, 190, 196 Monoline 063, 087, 161, 200, 204, Magazine 093, 114, 153, 170, 171, 178, 180, 198, 201, 206, 222 Movie 001, 002, 003, 004, 005, 006, 007, 008,
009, 011, 012, 014, 015, 023, 054, 089, 092, 095, 096, 115, 130, 132, 145, 151, 152, 167, 173, 176, 194, 199 Pen-based 001, 002, 014, 023, 047, 083, 085, 093, 108, 163, 179, 193, 195, 203 Postcard 108 Poster 063, 081, 082, 155, 166, 185, 195, 196, 197, 199, 217 Rounded 074, 075, 087, 191, 209 Sans 005, 006, 012, 054, 065, 067, 071, 073, 084, 095, 106, 114, 132, 151, 154, 155, 166, 177, 178, 181, 185, 191, 196, 197, 201, 211, 215, 218, 220, 221 Script 001, 002, 009, 010, 047, 076, 083, 085, 087, 091, 093, 107, 108, 014, 130, 153, 157, 161, 162, 167, 168, 171, 173, 175, 176, 180, 182, 184, 186, 187, 189, 190, 195, 198, 200, 202, 203, 204, 210, 214, 216 Serif 004, 005, 008, 045, 063, 075, 081, 092, 102, 115, 145, 152, 156, 158, 163, 164, 169, 170, 174, 183, 188, 192, 194, 205, 212, 213 Shadow 003, 006, 007, 014, 015, 096, 102, 132, 145, 197, 217 Sheet Music 050, 156, 164, 186, 211, 212 Slab 003, 045, 075, 152, 194 Stencil 046, 195, 218 Swash 153, 180, 194, 195, 202, 206 Toned 007, 009, 075, 085, 087, 092, 095, 096, 100, 103, 132, 145, 171, 184, 197, 209, 214, 217, 222 Tuscan 145, 152, 171, Wedge 092, 102, 205, 212
Colophon Text is set in Sutro by Jim Parkinson Title is set in Tasse by Guy Jeff Nelson
Wordmarks from a private stock of predigital lettering scoured from low resolution archives, personally converted to bezier outlines by Robb...
Published on Dec 6, 2020
Wordmarks from a private stock of predigital lettering scoured from low resolution archives, personally converted to bezier outlines by Robb...