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Smart magazine, March/April 1989

Contributed by Roger Black on Feb 2nd, 2018. Artwork published in
March 1989
    Smart magazine, March/April 1989
    License: All Rights Reserved.

    A typeface for the smart set

    Terry McDonell, the now legendary magazine editor, was starting his own magazine, Smart, in 1989. When he said he wanted to evoke The Smart Set, the stylish, literary monthly edited by H. L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan in the Roaring Twenties, I thought of Lucian Bernhard’s Bauer typeface from 1929, Lucian. That resulted in another early Font Bureau digitzation of a vintage foundry type, Belucian. At that point David Berlow was thinking of a adding a “Be-” to the names of all his revivals (cf. Belizio), but we talked him out of that later.


    • Belucian




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    3 Comments on “Smart magazine, March/April 1989”

    1. That’s a wonderful addition, Roger! Thanks for sharing the background about the names of Belucian and Belizio, that was new to me. Thank goodness you could convince him – to be frank, a Befranklin would have been … bewildering. Also, not sure about the commercial potential of a Beagle, let alone a Benus.

      The Smart logo apparently is based on a bolder weight of Bernhard Gothic, another typeface designed by Lucian Bernhard in the late 1920s.

      Terry McDonell shares a couple more Smart covers on his website, including the premiere issue from fall 1988 featuring Jack Nicholson:

    2. Thank you, Florian. Not sure, though, that Vonness is better than Benus (pronounced bean-us.)

      I’ll take credit for the Nicholson cover, but Rhonda Rubenstein, later Terry’s art director at Esquire, did most of the work at Smart, and is a great designer. She organized the Bill Murray shoot, and did that layout while I was wandering around doing redesigns.—Roger

    3. I remember when the SMART issue with Keith Richards came out! Great cover then and great cover now. Really stands the test of time. I was working on another magazine that you were in charge of designing at the time and used to go by the studio on lower Fifth Avenue where I met Rhonda Rubenstein, Jessica Helfand, Campion Primm and Jonathan Hoefler. Thank you Roger for sharing the story of Belucian!

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