An independent archive of typography.

Metrecal ad

Contributed by Garrison Martin on Oct 16th, 2020. Artwork published in
circa 1969
Metrecal ad
Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

I once saw a comment here on Fonts In Use that Ed Benguiat left about the origins of ITC Bauhaus. He mentioned that the typeface resulted from a design he did for Metrecal:

It was all done under the strict supervision of Helmut Krone, Art director at Doyle, Dane, Bernbach, NYC. We based it on Herbert Bayer’s original design. This was all done (BC) before computers. All the copy for the Metrical advertising was set photo composition in Bauhaus at Photo-Lettering, Incorporated. After the Metrical product was discontinued. I was asked by Aaron Burns to create a complete family of ITC Bauhaus. I made many additional drawings and I was working on so many projects that the assignment was given to Victor Caruso to complete.

I’m pretty sure this is where Bauhaus Geometric came from – a precursor to ITC Bauhaus, offered by Photo-Lettering alongside Bauhaus Alpha and Bauhaus Prisma. I feel like the design owes a lot to David L. Burke’s Burko (and of course to Herbert Bayer’s Universal). A book about Helmut Krone by Clive Challis dedicated a page to Metrecal and Benguiat’s involvement.

“Conceived by infant formula manufacturer Mead Johnson as a powder, Metrecal soon evolved into a canned shake. Each serving contained about 225 calories worth of chocolate, vanilla, or butterscotch sludge, fortified with vitamins, minerals, and protein. The latter is what distinguished Metrecal as a meal-in-a-can — and how the company got away with taglines like “Stop eating.” You were guaranteed to lose at least 3½ pounds a week.” — Stephanie Buck, Timeline


  • Bauhaus Geometric
  • Futura




Artwork location

3 Comments on “Metrecal ad”

  1. I always loved this kind of self-aware/self-referential kind of advertising copywriting back in the late sixties and seventies.

  2. Definitely Mark! It’s the sort of copy that makes friends with the reader.

  3. This beautiful ad proves that great design can rescue even a product that looks like Pepto Bismol.
    Bauhaus Geometric is such a beautiful design!

Post a comment