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Future Shock by Alvin Toffler, Random House edition (and subsequent uses)

Contributed by Michael Bilsborough on Oct 13th, 2017. Artwork published in
July 1970
.
    First hardcover edition, Random House, June 1970
    Source: http://www.ebay.ca thelittleprince42 (edited). License: All Rights Reserved.

    First hardcover edition, Random House, June 1970

    The visual identity of Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock has close ties to Amelia. This futuristic typeface was designed by Stanley Davis in c. 1966, combining the computer aesthetic of shapes made for magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) with round counters and corners for an alien-looking liquid-like effect.

    The jacket for the first hardcover edition published by Random House in July 1970 was designed by S. Neil Fujita (best known for the cover of The Godfather). The letterforms were not directly taken from Amelia, but redrawn, with narrower proportions and more angular terminals. Glyphs like ‘v’ and ‘y’ are also structurally different from the VGC phototype version. This design was adopted for the first UK edition by The Bodley Head (1970) and also for the US paperback editions by Bantam (August 1971). While the first (?) Bantam edition maintained the original color scheme featuring black text on white with yellow, subsequent editions brought a number of color variations, including green (1971?), pink (1971?), red/orange (1974?), blue [1971, see comments], yellow (1991?).

    Furthermore, the characteristic letterforms were adopted for the 1972 documentary film based on the book, starring Orson Welles as on-screen narrator. The current Bantam edition (1999, with cover art introduced in 1984) uses a similar Amelia-derived letter style, too, now in slanted caps on an angle. Over the years, Fujita’s Amelia adaptation obtained logo-like qualities.

    First hardcover edition, Random House, June 1970
    Source: http://www.ebay.ca genuinevintagepaper1. License: All Rights Reserved.

    First UK edition, The Bodley Head Ltd, London, 1970. The letterforms were directly taken from the Random House jacket, but rearranged. The shifted ‘oc’ pair was presumably added as a visual analogy of the shock. The secondary face is Univers.

    First hardcover edition, Random House, June 1970
    License: All Rights Reserved.

    Various paperback editions by Bantam, from 1971 on (images: Goodreads and Amazon). Here the letterforms are spaced more tightly. The ‘y’ was trimmed and the ‘i’ dot dropped.

    First hardcover edition, Random House, June 1970
    Source: https://www.youtube.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Still from the 1972 documentary film based on the book

    First hardcover edition, Random House, June 1970
    Source: http://www.ebay.ca dalaurmarketing (edited). License: All Rights Reserved.

    Library edition from 1984

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    2 Comments on “Future Shock by Alvin Toffler, Random House edition (and subsequent uses)”

    1. Oct 14th, 2017  3:30 am

      I’ve got the one with the blue cover and it says it’s the 3rd printing of the Bantam edition, 1971. I bought it about 1972, when I was in high school.

    2. Oct 14th, 2017  8:49 am

      Thank you, Mark! It looks like at least some of the color variations were issued simultaneously, or in quick succession.

      From Retiring Guy’s Digest:

      Future Shock spent 46 weeks on the New York Times nonfiction best sellers list, from October 11, 1970, to September 12, 1971.

      The cover of the first paperback edition was printed in 4 different colors. A Buffalo acquaintance of mine at the time confessed he had purchased all 4, thinking they were a series, each one a different book.

      Probably just what the marketing folks at Bantam Books had been hoping for.

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