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They Might Be Giants – Factory Showroom album art

Contributed by Stephen Coles on Mar 10th, 2020. Artwork published in .
    They Might Be Giants – Factory Showroom album art
    © 1996 Elektra Entertainment Group. License: All Rights Reserved.

    As told in an article in Eye magazine, Winter 2004, Barbara Glauber and her firm Heavy Meta once worked upstairs from Hoefler & Frere-Jones and often visited their office to ask, “Got some fonts for me?” This resulted in several designs using the foundry’s typefaces, including this commission from Glauber codenamed They Might Be Gothic. It would later become Giant.

    “We wanted the idea to be illogical to reflect the way TMBG work,” says Glauber, “and stencil bevel doesn’t make any sense: a stencil is flat and a bevel is dimensional.”

    That said, the stencil aspect of Giant isn’t shown in the final artwork.

    The other type is Steile Futura, an underrated 1950s design by Paul Renner, which has nothing to do with the original Futura just named that way to capitalize on its success.

    In later work for They Might Be Giants, Glauber got her hands on another H&FJ typeface before it reached the public: Gotham.

    Typefaces

    • Giant
    • Steile Futura
    • Saracen

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    4 Comments on “They Might Be Giants – Factory Showroom album art”

    1. This album’s back cover has some very fun three-dimensional typesetting as well, although I can’t seem to find any leads on either face in use here:

    2. Interesting! I wonder if the Latin might be a version/precursor of Saracen?

    3. The Latin is definitely Saracen. Dig the bottom terminal on the C in XTC. This was 1996, and the Proteus fonts had been out for several years IIRC.

    4. The Proteus series had been used in Rolling Stone already. Not sure if the fonts were officially released for general licensing before 1996. The “Familiar Faces” ad by the Hoefler Type Foundry in U&lc Vol. 23 No. 1 from Summer 1996 suggests that they were “now available for the first time ever”.

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