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Limits of Desire by Small Black

Contributed by Barry Parker on Dec 2nd, 2016. Artwork published in .
    Limits of Desire by Small Black
    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    I was fascinated with this album cover, not only for the image by Dutch photographer Scarlett Hooft Graafland, but for its interesting typography (design: Daniel Murphy). It appears that the font used is based off the metal type Augustea, which was desiged by Aldo Novarese and Alessandro Butti in 1951.

    There’s a digital freebie version of this typeface named “Augustus,” which is perhaps what the graphic designer used.


    • Augustea




    Artwork location

    4 Comments on “Limits of Desire by Small Black”

    1. Dec 2nd, 2016  9:50 am

      “Augustus” looks like just another clone of the various poor quality digitizations of Augustea/Nova Augustea. It is predated by OPTI Nova Augustea (Castcraft, 1990–1991), Implicit (SSI, 1992, no lowercase), Octavian (Brendel, 1994), and others. Amos (SSI, 1995) and OPTI Amanda Medium Agency (Castcraft, 1990–1991) are bolder versions. None of them is recommendable.

      For those interested in a quality typeface, see Dignitas by Christian Schwartz, Dino Sanchez, Jesse Vega. This revision of Luxury Text is a dignified reinterpretation of Nova Augustea.

    2. Barry Parker says:
      Dec 3rd, 2016  3:19 am

      I previously didn’t see how “Augustus” was of poor quality. Looking at my Encyclopedia of Typefaces from 1962, though, I see how the metal version of Augustea had nicely chiseled, tapered wedge serifs.

    3. Dec 3rd, 2016  12:35 pm

      Here’s your image. For some reason, it didn’t come through:

    4. Dec 3rd, 2016  12:54 pm

      It’s not just the tapered wedge serifs. Augustus has all kinds of problems, including poorly drawn outlines with bumpy transitions, probably further impaired by conversions. Here are two exemplary glyphs.

      Note how the top serifs in ‘K’ don’t even align (this, by the way, reveals that Augustus is derived from SSI’s Implicit). Spacing/kerning is unusable, too — just look at a basic word like ‘WAVE’.

      This is symptomatic for many freebie revivals. They may look quite acceptable in a small ‘ABC…’ sample online, but in the end, too often you get what you pay for.

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