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Typography is an integral part of every visual communicator’s toolbox. From hot metal to photo to desktop, the process of typesetting has undergone multiple revolutions, but the need to make written language legible, readable and appealing hasn’t changed. On the following pages is a sampling of work and commentary from a few of the type aficionados we have featured in the last 60 years.

Left: The original CA logo, 1959, designed by Freeman Craw of Tri-Arts Press, is closely related to his Craw Clarendon Condensed. His conviction that counter design is a fundamental of good type design is well demonstrated here.
Right: System Development Corporation salary survey cover, 1959. James Cross, designer.

“Typography is an art requiring imagination, intuition, common sense and an understanding of certain basic rules and letterforms.” —Richard Coyne,
The Journal of Commercial Art, 1961


Left: Kaiser Steel print ad, 1960. Nick Sidjakov/Dick Snider, designers; Dick Snider, art director; Young & Rubicam, San Francisco, ad agency.
Right: Poster for International Type Face Design Competition, sponsored by Visual Graphics Corporation, 1966. Herb Lubalin, designer; Tom Carnase, letterer.

“I do not think that typography is an end in itself, but that it is a component part of the whole message. Therefore, for me, idea, copy, art and typography are inseparable.” —Otto Storch, McCall’s, 1962

Left: 1968 Summer Olympics logo, 1968. Lance Wyman, designer.
Right: Hanes Hosiery’s L’eggs brand logotype, 1970. Roger Ferriter, art director/designer; Tom Carnase, letterer; Herb Lubalin Associates, design firm.

“When I do a book jacket or a package or whatever it may be, it is art to me. The fact that it sells a product or that it enhances the beauty of a product, fine.” —Alan Peckolick, Alan Peckolick Graphic Design, Inc., 1971

Left: IBM Rochester Design Center poster, 1969. Walter Lund/Gary Springer, designers; Thomas Coleman, art director.
Right: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich book cover, 1976. Alan Peckolick, designer; Harris Lewine, art director; LSC&P Design Group, design firm.

“Dada influenced graphic designers in two important areas: it helped to free typography from its rectilinear restrictions, and it reinforced the cubist idea of letterforms as a visual experience.” —Allen Hurlburt, 1977

Left: Walker Art Center exhibition poster, 1978. James Johnson, designer.
Right: CBS Television Network program promotion, 1978. Alan Brooks, designer; Herman Aronson/Bill Snyder, art directors.

“Because typography is so central to design, to communication, it affects all of us when people abandon higher-quality types because of the obvious efficiencies of other systems.” —Nathan Felde, Implement, Ltd., 1978

“If you cover up the type and your job looks better without it, it’s either the wrong type or it’s in the wrong place.”
—Robert Overby, 1979


Left: Diário do Paraná newspaper spread, 1980. Oswaldo Miranda, art director/designer/illustrator.
Right: The Wall Street Journal trade ad, 1983. Bo Zaunders, art director; Jim Johnston, writer/creative director; Jim Johnston Advertising Inc., ad agency.


“For me, Bembo is the all-time classic roman; if I were stuck on a desert island with only one typeface, that would be it.” 
—Roger Black, The New York Times Magazine, 1983


Left: Entertainment Technologies capabilities brochure, 1987. Mitchell Mauk, art director/designer; Mauk Design, design firm.
Right: Bloomingdale’s poster, 1988. Robert Valentine, art director/designer; John C. Jay, creative director; Neville Brody, illustrator.


“Laser typesetting for your Macintosh. It’s real type, but it’s not real typesetting. Not yet, anyway.” —Wendy Richmond, 1987


Left: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. book jacket, 1988. Fred Marcellino, designer/illustrator/calligrapher; Sara Eisenman, art director.
Right: MIT Press book jacket, 1989. Yasuyo Iguchi, designer; Diane Jaroch, art director.


“Where novelty in type design is concerned, it’s a short step from the center to the lunatic fringe. Any fool can make a type design that didn’t exist before.”
—Matthew Carter, Bitstream Inc., 1989

Left: Beach Culture cover, 1990. David Carson, art director/designer; Geof Kern, photographer; Carson Design, design firm.
Right: Jim Beam Brands Co. packaging, 1992. Sharon Werner, art director/designer; Duffy Design Group, design firm .

“Helvetica was misused by those who had no sense of typography, no sense of structure. The connotation, for example, of a classical typeface is centered type, that of Helvetica is flush left. So when you center Helvetica, you have a massacre.” —Massimo Vignelli, Vignelli Associates, 1990


Left: The Public Theater poster, 1996. Lisa Mazur/Paula Scher, designers; Paula Scher, art director; Richard Avedon, photographer; Pentagram Design, design firm.
Right: Swiss Army Brands print ad, 1998. Monica Taylor, art director; Dylan Lee, writer; Greg Bokor/Jim Garaventi, creative directors; Geoff Stein, photographer; Mullen Advertising, ad agency.

“Our work comes out of craft more than anything else. When people talk about our not coming out of the tradition, they’re talking about their tradition and not realizing that something new is going on here that requires its own set of standards.” —Zuzana Licko, Emigre Fonts, 1992


“The vertical emphasis of a sans serif face impedes legibility. Things set in Caslon get read; things set in Helvetica get looked at.” —David Lance Goines, Saint Hieronymus Press, 1999


Left: The Architectural League of New York poster, 1999. Michael Bierut/Nicole Trice, designers; Michael Bierut, art director; Pentagram Design, design firm.
Right: GQ opening-spread design, 2005. Ken DeLago, designer; Fred Woodward, design director; Noli Novak, illustrator.

“Cookbooks always begin with an admonition to choose the best possible ingredients, and typefaces should be selected the same way.” —Jonathan Hoefler, Hoefler & Frere-Jones, 2004


Left: Stanford University book discussion poster, 2006. Bryan Bindloss, designer; Jennifer Morla, art director; Morla Design, design firm.
Right: Malteser Ambulance Service TV commercial, 2007. Christian Mommertz, art director/creative director/director; Stephan Vogel, writer/executive creative director; Delle Krause, chief creative officer; Ogilvy & Mather Frankfurt, ad agency.

“Proper scaling is a sacred cow of typography. Like pooping on the floor or French kissing your mom, this is one rule that few designers are willing to break.” —Ellen Lupton, Maryland Institute College of Art, 2008


Left: Cooper Spirits International packaging, 2007. Steve Sandstrom, designer/creative director; Antar Dayal, illustrator; Sandstrom Design, design firm.
Right: Human Rights Campaign brochure, 2011. Sucha Becky, designer; Jake Lefebure/Pum Lefebure, art directors; Design Army, design firm.

“No one gets rich designing typefaces. In fact, until recently, designing typefaces was a pretty good way to lose money.” 
—Allan Haley, Monotype, 2009


Left: 826LA entrance signage, 2014. Stefan G. Bucher, designer/art director; Mac Barnett/Jon Korn, 826LA/J. Ryan Stradal, writers; 344 Design, LLC, design firm.
Right: Chronicle Books Drop Caps postcard set, 2016. Jessica Hische, letterer/designer; Kristen Hewitt, art director. 

“Comic Sans is the Frank Lloyd Wright, Picasso, Hemingway and Mozart of graphic design. It means ‘graphic design’ to people who don’t know what graphic design means.” —Mitch Goldstein, Rochester Institute of Technology, 2015


Left: AIGA Los Angeles lettering piece, 2017. Ana Gómez Bernaus, designer; Jessica Arana, art director.
Right: Graton Spirits Company LLC packaging, 2018. Stranger & Stranger, designer/design firm.

“Like fashion, type surrounds us, and it is inextricable from everyday life. Society couldn’t function for one day without letters, and we probably shouldn’t leave the house unclothed.” —Elizabeth Carey Smith, 2018


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