Twentysix Gasoline Stations by Ed Ruscha
4 Comments on “Twentysix Gasoline Stations by Ed Ruscha”
That’s not Stymie. The A is different.
You are right that ATF’s Stymie as well as most digital versions are distinguished by an A with top bar. But there’s also Monotype’s version of Stymie. From Mac McGrew’s American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century:
[…] Monotype also did its part in expanding the family; Sol Hess designed Stymie Extrabold in 1934, a year before Morris Benton drew Stymie Black [for ATF]. These heavy versions differ slightly from each other […]
Among the differences in Monotype’s Stymie Extrabold are a straight-legged R, a descending J, a single-sided serif on q, a t with curved exit stroke—and a barless A (an A with top bar and a flat-bottom t were available as alternates). Ed Ruscha used (a version) of Monotype’s Stymie Extrabold.
Scangraphic’s Stymie SB Bold Cond is a digital Stymie with barless A, but it’s not a faithful revival of Stymie Extrabold as depicted in McGrew. Their Stymie SB Bold comes closer in regard to some glyphs like R, t or the lighter middle bar in E, but isn’t a perfect match either.
The typeface used for Twentysix Gasoline Stations is Monotype’s Stymie Extrabold, as mentioned above. The article in Artforum has this detail wrong.
Granted, the situation is confusing. Stymie Black is a typeface produced by ATF for manual typesetting. Stymie Extrabold was made by Monotype for machine typesetting. It’s different in a number of design details. It has the same family name, but is essentially a distinct design.
Similarly, Beton extrafett was made by the German Bauer foundry for manual typesetting. There is also an American adaptation for machine typesetting, made by Intertype and named Beton Extra Bold. This time, the machine version stays closer to the foundry original, but again there are design differences. Most notably, the numerals in Intertype’s Beton seem to follow Stymie, not Bauer’s original Beton.
I include samples for all four typefaces below. Monotype’s Stymie Extrabold (#2) is the only one that has that beardless G and the A without top bar. See also the larger gap between the base serifs of A, the middle serif in W, and the slightly forward-leaning S. All these things match the type on Ruscha’s cover.