An independent archive of typography.

First World Premier Issue

Contributed by Herb Lubalin Study Center on Apr 19th, 2020. Artwork published in
January 1977
First World Premier Issue
Source: Chicago Design Archive. License: All Rights Reserved.

This cover of the first issue of the First World magazine was designed by Emmett McBain. He also designed the interior of the whole issue. McBain was a leading creative voice in the advertising scene in Chicago. In 1975 he took a break from advertising and started his own consultancy called “The Black Eye”. Its aim was to help advertising agencies and corporations connect with the African American community. It also gave him a chance to focus on design for nonprofits and for smaller publishers like First World Foundation.

First World: An International Journal of Black Thought was published by the First World Foundation based in Atlanta. It was created by Hoyt W. Fuller, a prominent editor, educator, critic, and author during the Black Arts Movement.

The cover uses Bloc by Jean Larcher for the logo of the journal. The words “PREMIER ISSUE” are set in Milton Glaser’s Baby Teeth face (using the Line variant of it). Bloc comes from a book of alphabets, called Fantastic Alphabets, that Jean Larcher published with Dover Books in 1976. The book contains 24 fanciful alphabets that were meant to be used by designers to create lettering. This is a rare use of Bloc or any other alphabet from this book that I have seen. The later editions of the journal switched to a more conservative design with a logo set based on ITC Bauhaus or similar.

The subtitle appears to be set in News Gothic Condensed. The date features another narrow sans in caps, Helvetica Condensed.

Thanks to Darryl Norsen for helping identify the name of the Jean Larcher face. The image comes from the wonderful Chicago Design Archive.


  • Bloc (Larcher)
  • Baby Teeth
  • News Gothic
  • Helvetica Condensed




Artwork location

1 Comment on “First World Premier Issue”

  1. A phototype adaptation of Jean Larcher’s Bloc is shown as Block Dimension in the Solotype catalog from 1992. At least five more of his Fantastic Alphabets were turned into film fonts, too. Solotype had them as Bubbles, Chains, Daisies Forever, Flag Initials, and Pencils.

    Block Dimension in the Solotype catalog, 1992.

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