Vintage travel posters

Russell Johnston and Megan Jones have been collecting vintage Travel and Ski posters since 1979. The collection was started by Russell’s father Robert W Johnston, a Royal Air Force navigator after the Second World War…

Russell Johnston, a lawyer from Essex, and his partner Megan Jones have been collecting vintage Travel and Ski posters since 1979. The collection was started by Russell’s father Robert W Johnston, a Royal Air Force navigator after the Second World War. Russell and Megan are now building an online catalog of these posters by photographing each to museum-reference digital standard. Some of these are being revealed for the first time in over 50 years and as you can imagine, many of them have become a rather valuable investment as collector’s items. Here are a few examples:

Vintage Travel Posters

Vintage Travel Posters

Vintage Travel Posters

Vintage Travel Posters

Vintage Travel Posters

Vintage Travel Posters

Vintage Travel Posters

Found via: Telegraph Travel.

See many more vintage posters on Megan’s blog Quad Royal.

Friday find: Woodcut Poynder ampersand

A very cool ampersand print with an interesting story…

Look at this cool ampersand:

24 Line Poynder Ampersand print

It has an interesting story too: Jaqui Sharples of Lancashire, England, found this 24 line woodcut letter on eBay where it was being advertised as a “3”. An avid letterpress enthusiast she immediately recognised it as an ampersand, bought it for only £3 and made the beautiful print pictured above.

24 Line Poynder Ampersand

Sharp eyed Flickr member alan.98 then identified the typeface as “Poynder” from Delittle of York’s 1938 specimen book:

Poynder from Delittle's 1935 catalogue

Jaqui runs a small studio called Print for Love of Wood where she makes many more amazing prints, take a look!

The flipside of old New York Times photos

The New York Times recently launched a Tumblr to share old pictures from their newsroom archive. More exciting than the photos themselves, is the history recorded on the back of each picture.

The New York Times recently launched The Lively Morgue; a Tumblr to share old pictures from their newsroom archive (nicknamed “The Morgue”).

The photos are intriguing enough and certainly provide excellent fodder for reblogging and pinning enthusiasts, but what really makes this project worth a closer look is that each photo can be “flipped over” to inspect the back. What could possibly be of interest on the back of a photo you ask? Well, you would be surprised!

Layer upon layer of stamps, scribbled annotations and clippings offer a haphazard roadmap to the photo’s history. Things to look out for include subject codes, what the photographer was paid, details of when and how many times the photo was published and of course the accompanying captions.

Call me strange, but I find these way more exciting than the photos themselves:

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Read more about this project on the NYT Lens blog.

Friday find: The Grapho-Scope and other forgotten art supplies

Whether you are old enough to have used a Grapho-Scope, or whether your first introduction to design was Adobe CS5, check out the online Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies curated by Lou Brooks…

American designer and illustrator Lou Brooks (born 1944 in Pennsylvania) has been in the game longer than most. You know the little Monopoly guy in the top hat? Lou drew that. He witnessed the entire digital revolution and as such, remembers using tools and materials most of us spring chickens have never even heard of.

Whether you are old enough to have used a Grapho-Scope, Shading Film, Non-Repro Blue Pencils and Letraset, or whether your first introduction to design was Adobe CS5, check out the online Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies curated by Lou himself. It will either fill you with nostalgia or puzzlement!

A few examples from the museum’s Artifacts Gallery:

Forgotten Art Supplies

Forgotten Art Supplies

Forgotten Art Supplies

Forgotten Art Supplies

Forgotten Art Supplies

Forgotten Art Supplies

Forgotten Art Supplies

Forgotten Art Supplies

Forgotten Art Supplies

Forgotten Art Supplies

Forgotten Art Supplies

Forgotten Art Supplies

Forgotten Art Supplies

Forgotten Art Supplies

Forgotten Art Supplies

Forgotten Art Supplies

Forgotten Art Supplies

Forgotten Art Supplies

Found via CreativePro.

Vintage Kodak packaging

Last night I saw an awesome movie called Super 8 which inspired me to find this old film and camera packaging.

Last night I rented an awesome 2011 movie called Super 8. I’m not sure how I completely missed it on the circuit, but I had never heard of it. I guess my brain switched off every time I heard someone mention “super something-or-other”, assuming it was yet another superhero movie…

Turns out I was just uneducated. The title refers to a motion picture film format introduced by Kodak Eastman in 1965. Following it’s 8mm predecessor, this bad boy featured smaller perforations allowing for a larger exposure area, hence the superness.

History lesson aside, during the movie (set in 1979) I noticed the unmistakeable yellow Kodak film packs and it inspired me to look for some more film and camera packaging examples from that period. Fortunately I came across a nice little collection at The Medium Control’s inspiration blog, have a look:

Vintage Kodak packaging

Vintage Kodak packaging

Vintage Kodak packaging

Vintage Kodak packaging

Vintage Kodak packaging

Is that some Eurostile I spy on “INSTANT CARTRIDGE LOAD MOVIE CAMERA”? Also note the little SUPER 8 to the right of the camera.

Vintage Kodak packaging

Vintage Kodak packaging

I love the condensed fonts used on this instamatic camera packaging combined with the extended font used for the model number. Any idea what they are? Those slanted terminals on the S and C of INSTAMATIC are quite distinctive…

Mysterious calligraphic album from the 1620s

These beautifully ornate calligraphic letterforms form part of an album entitled “Kalligraphische Schriftvorlagen” (calligraphic writing styles) produced by Johann Hering of Bavaria, Germany in the 1620s. Were they intended for educational use or simply practice sheets from Hering’s personal collection?

According to BiblyOdyssey, there is not much information available online about Johann Hering or his work as scribe, but what we do know is the majority of this writing is in German (with occasional Latin) and many of the pages contain texts from The Bible.

Aren’t these amazing?

Calligraphic letterforms by Johann Hering, 1620s

Calligraphic letterforms by Johann Hering, 1620s

Calligraphic letterforms by Johann Hering, 1620s

Calligraphic letterforms by Johann Hering, 1620s

Calligraphic letterforms by Johann Hering, 1620s

Calligraphic letterforms by Johann Hering, 1620s

Find out more on BibliOdyssey.

Friday find: Book cover graphics

Julian Montague of Buffalo, New York started documenting interesting book covers from his collection in February 2009. Three years later (and over 1000 covers later) he is still at it…

Julian Montague of Buffalo, New York started documenting interesting book covers from his collection in February 2009. Three years later (and over 1000 covers later) he is still at it!

Here are a few, but this is only scratching the surface:

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Daily Book Graphics

Visit the Daily Book Graphics project by Julian Montague for more. Found via ISO50.

IBM Film Ribbons by Paul Rand

A striking example of Paul Rand’s packaging design work for IBM from the 1960s.

Javier Garcia of San Francisco found this striking example of Paul Rand’s IBM packaging design tucked away in his dad’s office, still wrapped and unused. Javier points out the nice contrast of the white hand lettering against the bold slab-serifed IBM. I agree, it works super well.

Paul Rand IBM packaging

Paul Rand IBM packaging

Paul Rand IBM packaging

Paul Rand produced work for IBM from the 1950s to the late 1990s. The exact date of this particular design is unknown, but thanks to my eagle-eyed forensic analysis of the expiry date (12/6/71) in following picture, and based on the fact that the IBM Selectric Typewriters were only introduced in 1961, this box dates back to the mid 1960s.

Paul Rand IBM packaging

Friday find: Bottle caps

I have always thought of bottle caps as an interesting little canvas and wondered how much attention actually goes into their design, but I had no idea that a passionate community of collectors exists…

I came upon an unusual source of typographic history: bottle caps (aka crowns)! I have always thought of crown caps as an interesting little canvas and wondered how much attention goes into their design, but I had no idea that a passionate community of collectors exists.

Kenny Yohn, “The Bottle Cap Man” is a member of the Crowncap Collectors Society International and boasts over 20,000 beer and soda crowns in his collection. Here are a few (well, to be honest, 160!) good ones I picked from his online gallery for their typographic diversity.

Are they not just too cool!

The Bottle Cap Man

The Bottle Cap Man

The Bottle Cap Man

The Bottle Cap Man

The Bottle Cap Man

The Bottle Cap Man

The Bottle Cap Man

The Bottle Cap Man

The Bottle Cap Man

The Bottle Cap Man

Friday find: Jaunā Gaita magazine covers

Jaunā Gaita is a Latvian language magazine which has been published since the 1950s. Here are a few of their beautiful experimental covers from the past.

Jaunā Gaita is a Latvian language magazine based in Canada. It was first published after the second world war when many Latvian people were relocated to other countries across the world. Writers and other creatives were influenced by the process of change and their new surroundings. Jaunā Gaita is a result of this turmoil and the title translates as “The New Course”. The magazine is still in publication today and they have an online archive of their beautiful experimental covers. Here are a few samples:

Jaunā Gaita magazine covers

Jaunā Gaita magazine covers

Jaunā Gaita magazine covers

Jaunā Gaita magazine covers

Jaunā Gaita magazine covers

Jaunā Gaita magazine covers

Jaunā Gaita magazine covers

Jaunā Gaita magazine covers

Jaunā Gaita magazine covers

Jaunā Gaita magazine covers

Jaunā Gaita magazine covers

Jaunā Gaita magazine covers

Jaunā Gaita magazine covers

Found via junkyard.dogs’ flickr. Images from Jaunā Gaita’s cover archive. More info from ISO50 and Grain Edit.

Vintage matchboxes from around the world

A look at the matchboxes of old, adorned with images of battle and grandeur. Oh and some toothpick boxes too.

Mankind’s command of fire is arguably what separates us from the animals on a most basic level. The ability to package that kind of power in a tiny cardboard box and put it in your pocket is nothing short of awe inspiring. No wonder the matchboxes of old used to be adorned with images of battle and grandeur. The bleed and misregistered printing only adds to the appeal. Oh, there are also a few toothpick boxes in the mix. I mean of course reigning supreme over God’s creation with something in your teeth would be simply disgraceful…

Vintage matchboxes

Note to Australian gingers: please remember to wear the correct protective mask when using safety matches.

Vintage matchboxes

Vintage matchboxes

Vintage matchboxes

Vintage matchboxes

Vintage matchboxes

Vintage matchboxes

Vintage matchboxes

From a Livejournal post by valaamov_osel and a Flickr set by Shailesh Chavda.

Friday find: Gig flyer

Gig flyers have always been a playground for design experimentation, but they are usually not very representative of great typography. I think this one is a step up and I’ll tell you why…

I found this flyer for the Cape Town Folk ‘n Acoustic Music Festival at a coffee shop on my way to work this morning:

The Cape Town Folk 'n Acoustic Music Festival flyer

Gig flyers have always been a playground for design experimentation, but due to their low-fi tradition and the fact that they are probably often created by musicians rather than designers, they are usually not very representative of great typography.

I think this one is a step up and I’ll tell you why:

  1. The informal and somewhat zany geometric display type used for Folk ‘n Acoustic is anchored nicely by the graphic elements (banners, shapes, icons) around it.
  2. The visual hierarchy of information is presented well by the size and weight of the type; first what, then when and where, followed by who, and lastly the sponsors.
  3. The list of artists’ names vary in size and colour, yet the typographic colour (overall density) has been well preserved.
  4. The strong horisontal structure remains unbroken throughout.
  5. Sticking to just two colours (black and red) was a good choice, especially since the background is textured.
  6. Although it is quite text-heavy, there is enough white space for the design to breathe.

Looking at it a little more critically:

  1. I like the fact that designers are breaking free of the old use-no-more-than-two-fonts-per-design mantra, because it does work in many cases, but I have to question whether using five different fonts on the front of the flyer (plus two more on the back!) is necessary? Perhaps exploring a few different weights of a single typeface instead of using different font families would offer a more consistent result.
  2. I’m probably being pedantic here, but the misregistered effect used on music festival is redundent in context of the treatment across the rest of the layout.

The typographic allure of analogue control panels

In this age of touch screen interaction I think our senses are left underwhelmed by tapping and swiping and we often experience a yearning for the tactile response of dials buttons and gauges…

In this age of touch screen interaction I think our senses are left underwhelmed by tapping and swiping and we often experience a yearning for the tactile response of dials buttons and gauges. This is evident in the contemporary application of retro design aesthetics, for example BERG’s Little Printer and Jonas Eriksson’s 76 Synthesizer iPad app. Typography plays an understated but indispensable role in any analogue interface.

I came across this intriguing Flickr Group Pool entitled Control Panel. Here are a few delicious samples to fuel your nostalgia:

The typography of analogue control panels

The typography of analogue control panels

The typography of analogue control panels

The typography of analogue control panels

The typography of analogue control panels

The typography of analogue control panels

The typography of analogue control panels

The typography of analogue control panels

The typography of analogue control panels

The typography of analogue control panels

The typography of analogue control panels

The typography of analogue control panels

The typography of analogue control panels

The typography of analogue control panels

The typography of analogue control panels

The typography of analogue control panels

Friday find: Racing decals from the 1970s

I have always been a sucker for stickers, so it’s no surprise that these caught my attention…

I have always been a sucker for stickers, so it’s no surprise that amongst sarcoptiform’s eclectic Flickr collection including art, tea tags, found photographs and magazine covers, these are what caught my attention:

Vintage 1970s Racing Decals

Vintage 1970s Racing Decals

Vintage 1970s Racing Decals

Vintage 1970s Racing Decals

Vintage 1970s Racing Decals

Vintage 1970s Racing Decals

Vintage 1970s Racing Decals

And finally, here is a goggle-wearing owl emerging from a cloud of smoke inside a big X. Your argument is invalid.

Vintage 1970s Racing Decals

Vintage French type specimen books

A few beautiful pages from old French type specimen books.

I found these in pilllpat (agence eureka)’s Flickr photostream. She has a huge collection of high res scans from old publications, well worth a look.

Album du peintre en batîment (1882):

Interesting to note the missing W from these earlier specimens as it was very rarely used in French.

Album du peintre en batîment 01

Album du peintre en batîment 02

Album du peintre en batîment 03

Album du peintre en batîment 04

100 Alphabets Publicitaires (1946):

Alphabets Publicitaires 01

Alphabets Publicitaires 02

Alphabets Publicitaires 03

Alphabets Publicitaires 04

La Lettre (1957):

La Lettre 01

La Lettre 02

La Lettre 03

La Lettre 04

Amazing vintage cigarette pack designs from around the world

Smoking or non-smoking, be sure to take a look at these fantastic cigarette pack designs from yesteryear, collected from different countries around the world…

Christian Kranich of Vienna, Austria has a mammoth collection of cigarette packs representative of over 150 countries and spanning several decades. I have never smoked a cigarette in my life, so for me to sit drooling over their packaging is unusual to say the least. Believe it or not, there are some typographic gems amongst them and I have just spent way too much time exploring his online database not to share a few of my favourites, well 160 of them to be precise!

Cigarette packs from around the world

Cigarette packs from around the world

Cigarette packs from around the world

Cigarette packs from around the world

Cigarette packs from around the world

Cigarette packs from around the world

Cigarette packs from around the world

Cigarette packs from around the world

Cigarette packs from around the world

Cigarette packs from around the world

Cigarette packs from around the world

Cigarette packs from around the world

Cigarette packs from around the world

Cigarette packs from around the world

Cigarette packs from around the world

Cigarette packs from around the world

Cigarette packs from around the world

Cigarette packs from around the world

Cigarette packs from around the world

Cigarette packs from around the world

Find loads more information about the individual packs on Zigsam – the Austrian cigarette collection. Although the packs are archived by brand and country, I must warn you that browsing is not an easy task…

Friday find: Boxing posters

Check out these awesome boxing posters from the 1930s and 40s.

The style of vintage boxing posters is one that has surged in popularity in recent times and can be found applied to everything from websites to wedding invitations. As Matt Willey of Studio8 Design points out:

The arrangement of the type is a result, I presume, of a simple need to get all this information on the poster – nothing more fancy than that. They are probably more appealing now than they were considered at the time.

1934:

Vintage boxing posters

1942:

Vintage boxing posters

Imagine the chilling experience of being pitted against someone called Dick Freezer (above).

1949:

Vintage boxing posters

Via Eye Magazine Blog.

Vintage record sleeves

Project Thirty Three is a blog by Seattle-based Jive Time Records, showcasing a fantastic collection of record sleeve designs, categorised by motif…

Project Thirty Three is a blog by Seattle-based Jive Time Records, showcasing a fantastic collection of record sleeve designs. The way they are categorised by motif (Circles and Dots, Squares and Rectangles, Lines and Stripes) makes for fun browsing. As far as I can tell, the sleeves are mainly from the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

The seemingly infinite number of vintage record jackets that convey their message with only simple shapes and typography never cease to amaze us.

Sometimes less really is more! Look at these fine specimens:

Project Thirty Three vintage record sleeves

Project Thirty Three vintage record sleeves

Project Thirty Three vintage record sleeves

Project Thirty Three vintage record sleeves

Project Thirty Three vintage record sleeves

Project Thirty Three vintage record sleeves

Project Thirty Three vintage record sleeves

Project Thirty Three vintage record sleeves

Project Thirty Three vintage record sleeves

Project Thirty Three vintage record sleeves

Project Thirty Three vintage record sleeves

Project Thirty Three vintage record sleeves

Project Thirty Three vintage record sleeves

Project Thirty Three vintage record sleeves

Project Thirty Three vintage record sleeves

Project Thirty Three vintage record sleeves

Project Thirty Three vintage record sleeves

Project Thirty Three vintage record sleeves

Project Thirty Three vintage record sleeves

Project Thirty Three vintage record sleeves

Found via Allan Peters.

Handwritten letters of note

There is just something about handwritten correspondence that connects you to the writer unlike any other medium. Take a look at these examples from well known personalities, spanning several centuries…

Shaun Usher, a freelance copywriter from Manchester, England, runs Letters of Notean attempt to gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos. There are over 600 examples of this old fashioned correspondence in his growing online collection.

What I find myself most drawn to, are the handwritten artefacts, maybe because putting pen to paper is such a rarity in our digital world. Or maybe it is the way a handwritten note is able to connect us to a particular place and time in the writer’s life unlike any other medium.

Here are a few examples from well known personalities, spanning several centuries. Click the image to go to the relevant page on Letters of Note to read transcripts and find out more:

1973. Freddy Mercury to Jac Holzman, founder of their U.S. label, Elektra Records:

Letters of note: Freddie Mercury

1610. Galileo Galilei to Leonardo Donato, Prince of Venice:

Letters of note: Galileo Galilei

1995. Henry Rollins to a rude, disappointed fan:

Letters of note: Henry Rollins

1954. James Dean to on-off girlfriend Barbara Glenn:

Letters of note: James Dean

1817. Jane Austen to her eight-year-old niece (each word written backwards):

Letters of note: Jane Austen

Jimi Hendrix to a girlfriend:

Letters of note: Jimi Hendrix

1997. Joe Strummer to Mark Hagen on Bruce Springsteen:

Letters of note: Joe Strummer

1996. John Lydon (Sex Pistols) to the U.S. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on their inclusion:

Letters of note: John Lydon

Johnny Cash’s to-do list:

Letters of note: Johnny Cash

1993. Kurt Cobain to MTV (unsent):

Letters of note: Kurt Cobain

1916. Get-well-soon note from Pablo Picasso to Jean Cocteau:

Letters of note: Pablo Picasso

1983. Steven Spielberg to Forrest Ackerman:

Letters of note: Steven Spielberg

1924. Walt Disney to Ub Iwerks:

Letters of note: Walt Disney

1972. Bob Dylan to U. S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in support of John Lennon and Yoko Ono:

Letters of note: Bob Dylan

1745. Controversial letter from Benjamin Franklin to a friend regarding “older mistresses”:

Letters of note: Benjamin Franklin

1955. A seemingly sarcastic letter from Ernest Hemingway to “Mr. Lord” of Morgan Guaranty Trust Company:

Letters of note: Ernest Hemingway

Shaun is planning on turning this collection into a large coffee-table volume of 400 pages, with 200 letters, each with an introduction and a transcript of the text. Find out more and pledge your support for the project at Unbound Books.

Fantastic, strange, incredible, super, amazing comic book mastheads!

John Hilgart calls himself a curator of lost items. Among his assortment of finds, is SUPERTYPE! – a collection of high res vintage comic book mastheads to marvel at…

John Hilgart calls himself a curator of lost items. Among his assortment of finds, is  SUPERTYPE! – a collection of high res vintage comic book mastheads to marvel at. Most of these date back to the 1960s and 1970s, aka the Silver Age of comics. Here are a few examples:

SUPERTYPE! Comic Book Mastheads

SUPERTYPE! Comic Book Mastheads

SUPERTYPE! Comic Book Mastheads

SUPERTYPE! Comic Book Mastheads

SUPERTYPE! Comic Book Mastheads

SUPERTYPE! Comic Book Mastheads

SUPERTYPE! Comic Book Mastheads

SUPERTYPE! Comic Book Mastheads

SUPERTYPE! Comic Book Mastheads

SUPERTYPE! Comic Book Mastheads

SUPERTYPE! Comic Book Mastheads

SUPERTYPE! Comic Book Mastheads

SUPERTYPE! Comic Book Mastheads

SUPERTYPE! Comic Book Mastheads

SUPERTYPE! Comic Book Mastheads

SUPERTYPE! Comic Book Mastheads

Friday find: Typewriter ribbon tins

Janine Vangool from Calgary, Canada has a great collection of vintage typewriter ribbon tins. How cool!

Janine Vangool from Calgary, Canada has a great collection of vintage typewriter ribbon tins. How cool:

Janine Vangool's typewriter ribbon tin collection

Janine Vangool's typewriter ribbon tin collection

Janine Vangool's typewriter ribbon tin collection

Janine Vangool's typewriter ribbon tin collection

Janine Vangool's typewriter ribbon tin collection

Janine Vangool's typewriter ribbon tin collection

Janine Vangool's typewriter ribbon tin collection

Janine Vangool's typewriter ribbon tin collection

Janine Vangool's typewriter ribbon tin collection

Janine Vangool's typewriter ribbon tin collection

This last one is my personal favourite:

Janine Vangool's typewriter ribbon tin collection

See more in Janine’s Flicker set and read an interview with her about the collection on Poppytalk.

Friday find: Vintage erasers

Lovely eraser branding and packaging from yesteryear… and a skateboard deck!

1940s Vintage Eberhard Faber Ruby Eraser Box via Swiss Miss:

Vintage eraser branding

Vintage erasers from Lisa Kongdon’s A Collection A Day:

Vintage eraser branding

And in sticking with the theme, a skate deck entitled “Big Mistake” hand painted by Jennifer Daniel for Bordo Bello Auction:

Pink Pearl eraser skate deck

Sex, prison and lost ligatures: The story of Avant Garde

I needed to clear this up for myself, the truth behind this great and mysterious typeface we know as Avant Garde. So for the benefit of those interested, here is the story…

I needed to clear this up for myself, the truth behind this great and mysterious typeface we know as Avant Garde. So for the benefit of those interested, here is the story:

Herb Lubalin (1918 – 1981) was a prominent American graphic designer. In 1962 he teamed up with a journalist called Ralph Ginzburg (1929 – 2006) and together they published a controversial erotic magazine called Eros. By the fourth issue the magazine got shut down for violating federal obscenity laws in the USA. They followed with a magazine called Fact, but this one also came to a premature end due to legal troubles.

Avant Garde

Six months later Lubalin and Ginzberg released the first issue of Avant Garde, an attractive hard-bound periodical which would run for 14 issues between January 1968 and July 1971. Following in the footsteps of its predecessors, Avant Garde pushed the boundaries of censorship and ceased when Ginzberg went to prison for featuring nude models depicting the alphabet!

Avant Garde magazine’s most notable legacy is arguably its instantly recognisable logo designed by Lubalin:

Avant Garde

Lubalin expanded the logo design into an extensive range of characters and ligatures intended solely for use in the identity and headlines of the magazine.

Avant Garde

Avant Garde

Demand from the design community for an Avant Garde typeface became such that Lubalin employed the help of his partner Tom Carnase and together they transformed the Avant Garde lettering into a full-fledged typeface. ITC Avant Garde was first released in 1970 by the International Typeface Corporation, a company formed by Lubalin that same year.

Avant Garde

Avant Garde

Avant Garde

The original release comprised five weights, including one version for headlines and one for body copy. Sadly the modern digitized releases did not include the vast amount of ligatures and alternate characters. For a while they were considered lost, but fortunately the advent of OpenType technology has allowed ITC to release a complete digital version of Avant Garde Gothic offering all the original alternate characters and ligatures.

Avant Garde

Despite its pure geometric shapes, the typeface is a deceptively tricky one to use well and many designers lacked the necessary understanding of Lubalin’s letterforms. After being released commercially, the font quickly became overused and is commonly found in poor design solutions. Avant Garde remains extremely popular to this day and the most successful examples of use are where restraint is exercised such as this identity for Music Balloon by Golden:

Avant Garde

Avant Garde

Sources:

* Note: A ligature in typography is a special character consisting of two or more joined letters.

Friday find: Flight thru Instruments, 1945

How awesome is this rare military flight manual from 1945? That front cover couldn’t be more perfect.

An excerpt from the foreword:

The pilot who cannot fly through instruments, therefore, consigns himself and his plane to a part time job and places both in the premodern era where usefulness was limited by the amount of daylight and visibility.

Flight thru Instruments, 1945

Flight thru Instruments, 1945

Flight thru Instruments, 1945

Via: Prof. Michael Stoll’s Flickr

Incredible vintage typography from Sanborn Map Company

Examples of the incredible variety of ornate typographic titles which appeared on Sanborn Maps between 1880 and 1920.

Founded in 1866 by Daniel Alfred Sanborn, a surveyor from Massachusetts, The Sanborn Company began making fire insurance maps in 1867. The company first gained recognition for the rich detail employed in the maps they produced in the 1800s, and today these archived maps are still widely used for research purposes. Sanborn still exists as a mapping and GIS company.

The images below are examples of the incredible variety of ornate typographic titles which appeared on maps between 1880 and 1920.

Sanborn Maps

Sanborn Maps

Sanborn Maps

Sanborn Maps

Sanborn Maps

Sanborn Maps

Sanborn Maps

Sanborn Maps

See more at BibliOdyssey.

Figural Cameos

Cameo refers to type design in which the characters are reversed out of a black background. In figural cameos, the background typically depicts the product or service being advertised.

Cameo refers to type design in which the characters are reversed out of a dark background. In figural cameos, the background typically depicts the product or service being advertised. Judging by the dates on some of these vintage mail items, this form of branding reached it’s height in the 1800s, although I have seen quite a few contemporary designs referencing this unique artform.

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

Figural Cameo

I originally came across these images on Miss Moss and traced some more info on The Trade Card Place.