Frank Zappa in Hitweek magazine (1967–69)
6 Comments on “Frank Zappa in Hitweek magazine (1967–69)”
This is great, Matthijs!
Seconded! Here’s a specimen for California Caps:
The whole blog post about Zappa in Hitweek is full of great stuff. I hope to find the time to post some more by Willem de Ridder soon. His use of California Caps pre-dates the 1968 Letter-fan, impressive how designers like De Ridder managed to be aware of new releases in the pre-internet era.
I think I found a more likely source for that type: Gros Titre by Roland Schenk in 1959, as shown in Lettera 2, 1961.
In 1959, Schenk was art director for Swiss arts periodical Du, so perhaps this was a custom headline alphabet created for that use. It’s unclear if it was ever officially adapted as a phototype font, but Lettergraphics appears to have copied and expanded it as California Caps.
Bravo, Stewf! Did you remember that alphabet, or did you look it up? Anyway, my hat is off to you.
I agree that copying, cutting and pasting letters from an alphabet source book like Lettera is more likely than using a (freshly released?) American film typeface.
Roland Schenk’s work may not have been made into a proper font, but Lettera and other similar books effectively functioned as founts of letterforms. This is underpinned by the intro to the book, which explicitly states: “Every purchaser of LETTERA 2 is entitled to form words and texts for any purpose from the alphabet it contains.” This magazine cover is a great example. By the way, the original “release format” of Walter Haettenschweiler’s Schmalfette Grotesk likewise was a reproduction in Lettera.
There are a few minor differences between Gros Titre and California Caps. In the latter, G has a bigger aperture, Q bar is not centered, and X is less squarish. Here’s a comparison, showing Gros Titre (left), a G from the Hitweek cover (center), and California Caps (right). In addition to the aperture, see also the bottom link.
I’ve made an entry for Gros Titre and adjusted the credits in the post.
Four issues of Hitweek were recently added to Letterform’s Online Archive, which just went public.