Herb Lubalin, among several others, prognosticated that typography for television screens needed a fundamental re-think. The students on Lita Talarico and Steven Heller’s course at the School of Visual Arts, New York, are attempting the re-thought-process. In this issue Heller presents the results.
Permanent body decoration, voluntary or not-so-voluntary, is nothing new. Caroline Archer charts the fascinating history of the use of the body as a message-carrier.
Why have typing conventions, such as the double-space, persisted in typography? David Jury traces the relationship between the typist, her typing manual and ‘real’ typesetting. To the typographic purist Mr Pitman has a lot to answer for.
Meanwhile, Sue Walker discusses the typography of children’s books, with charming illustrated examples from her own library. Here is typography assisting in the visual didactic process, including ‘the use of sans serif in a deliberate and child-focused way’.
To celebrate Penguin Books’ 70th anniversary, the company has re-published 70 popular books, each with a new cover design, commissioned from 70 leading designers and illustrators. Robert Banham chronicles the project, and its very demanding timetable.
Much information to ponder then, including an updated collection of type designers in our ever-expanding lexicon.
From ancient Egyptian times to the present day there has been a long-standing custom where civilizations and government, states and religion, groups and individuals mark the body. Either permanently or temporarily, with letters and symbols, for reasons of punishment or pleasure, worship or abuse, possession, decoration or desecration.
Today, body type is found in all areas of life. It is most commonly used as an aide mémoire, with people using their bodies as notebooks on which to jot down reminders – telephone numbers, addresses, or items of shopping. Students write ‘facts’ on their forearms to assist them in examinations; and smitten teenage girls doodle the name smitten teenage girls doodle the name of their current passion or favoured band just about anywhere. Body type has also found its way into the sports arena: boxers carry the logos of their sponsors directly on their skin; American quarterbacks script the first 15 plays on tape on their wrists; and football fans write the names of their favoured team on their chests, one letter per person. Today there is something of a cult around body type, and more than one celebrity has supported a cause with words on the flesh: Coldplay’s Chris Martin, an active supporter of Fairtrade, frequently displays his commitment to this charity with words on his body…
For several generations, secretarial staff produced the correspondence, and all other forms of administrative documentation, required by every business and organization. The all-women typing pool, with its own hierarchy and strict regimes, was often described as the ‘heart’ of the organization. The personal or departmental secretary became a hybrid image of formality and efficiency – qualities that were formulated in large part by the rules
of the typing manual. Secretaries and typists were trained in-house and/or at commercial college: typewriting, shorthand, business conventions, and English (with an emphasis on spelling, grammar, terminology and punctuation). The authority of the typewritten document quickly became an essential commercial tool. The crude, mechanistic appearance of the characters punched onto the company notepaper through the inked textile ribbon was in no way detrimental to its commercial viability. Nor were the severe limitations of only 88 key-options. In fact, the resulting idiosyncratic characteristics of the typewritten document made it immediately recognizable, and, once established in the larger and successful companies, all other businesses, no matter how small, had to own one in order to present themselves to the outside world as a commercially viable manufacturer, merchant or service…
©2005 Bradbourne Publishing Ltd.