An independent archive of typography.

Living in the Present

Illustration and typeface work hand-in-hand on this paperback cover from the ’60s.

Contributed by Stephen Coles on Dec 21st, 2010. Artwork published in .


Found in Julian Montegue’s fabulous book cover collection, this design is credited to Barbara Gillruth, one of the many unsung mid-century book cover designers who gets zero results on Google.

I can’t say if the illustration fits the subject matter (anyone know the book?) but the type certainly fits the image. One wonders which came first. Lydian is pre-digital, designed by Warren Chappell in 1938, but it would have been worth building a kern pair for that ‘WA’.

The price is curious. Underinked and on an angle, it appears stamped. But it’s also set in Lydian. Wha?


  • Lydian




8 Comments on “Living in the Present”

  1. Just a guess on the price--I have a fair amount of old books from my grandparents' collections and a lot of them have similar fading on the edge. Generally it's caused by the edge of the book being pulled out from the shelf just enough to cause light/sun fading. The same fading seems to be evident (though less prominently) in the titles--notice the ends of "John" and "Wain" are more algae green on the N's and almost teal at the J and W.

  2. I can't help on the price being in the same font, though a Google search finds this British cover variant:

  3. Wolfgang says:
    Dec 22nd, 2010 11:06 am

    Hey, the Lydian font is also used for the corporate design of the famous "Thalia-Theater" in Hamburg - one of the best known Theaters in Germany. Its used for flyers, posters and the website.

  4. David Merrill says:
    Jan 24th, 2011 5:01 pm

    If the cover is pre-digital, then so may be the production. Hence, the price being slightly "on an angle" would not be surprising if it was waxed to a blue-lined pasteup board and then hustled to the printer in a warm car. Many are the carefully spaced and straightened subheads that vanished in a warm car.

  5. I think I would trade the coolness of an auto-aligned InDesign document for a warm car wax mishap any day of the week.

  6. “Auto-aligned” just got a whole new connotation.

  7. Lydian will forever remind me of As the World Turns, having been the logo font for the first 25 of that show's 54 years.

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