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Sygma logo and brochures

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Feb 7th, 2021. Artwork published in
circa 1973
.
    Cover of a Sygma brochure, 1973–1978. The outlined numerals filled with images are probably custom.  Extra Bold traced with rounded corners would come very close.
    Source: https://journals.openedition.org License: All Rights Reserved.

    Cover of a Sygma brochure, 1973–1978. The outlined numerals filled with images are probably custom. Helvetica Extra Bold traced with rounded corners would come very close.

    The Sygma logo uses lowercase letters from Turtle. The bold graphic typeface is characterized by rounded terminals, monolinear counters/apertures, and parting lines in unusual places. It was conceived by Bob Newman, a member of Letraset’s design studio. Turtle was issued for dry transfer lettering in 1971. Unlike other designs by Newman like Frankfurter or Zipper, it must have sold rather poorly. At least that’s what one might assume from the fact that it disappeared from Letraset’s catalogs after only a few years. BD BonBon (2002) by Heinz “Heiwid” Widmer of Büro Destruct is a freebie loosely based on Turtle. In 2011 Nick Curtis made a faithful digitization named Turtellini NF.

    Sygma was a French photography agency, founded in 1973 by Hubert Henrotte. It was bought in June 1999 by the American agency Corbis and renamed Corbis Sygma. The once famous name disappeared in 2011. For more information about Sygma, see “The Sygma archive exploited by Corbis. An alternate history of photojournalism” by Audrey Leblanc and Sébastien Dupuy, published in Études photographiques 35, spring 2017.

    Glyph set of Typeshop’s phototype adaptation of Turtle.
    Photo: Florian Hardwig. License: CC BY-NC-SA.

    Glyph set of Typeshop’s phototype adaptation of Turtle.

    Sygma brochure from 1980, listing addresses in Paris, New York, and Los Angeles in  Italic. The stacked slab-serif letters for the keywords are from .
    Source: https://journals.openedition.org Sygma. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Sygma brochure from 1980, listing addresses in Paris, New York, and Los Angeles in Helvetica Italic. The stacked slab-serif letters for the keywords are from Rockwell.

    Covers of Sygma brochures from 1995 and 2000, featuring  with varying amounts of condensation. [edit: The serif shown on the right is , see comments.]
    Source: https://journals.openedition.org Sygma. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Covers of Sygma brochures from 1995 and 2000, featuring ITC Garamond with varying amounts of condensation. [edit: The serif shown on the right is ITC Veljovic, see comments.]

    Typefaces

    • Turtle
    • Rockwell
    • ITC Garamond
    • ITC Veljovic
    • Helvetica

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    3 Comments on “Sygma logo and brochures”

    1. See also the logo of Temperatures, which was designed by Lauren Francescone based on the letterforms of the Sygma logo.

    2. I get that Turtle is the main hero here, but since you brought it up: “L’agence” on the last brochure cover looks like ITC Veljovic, no?

    3. Thanks for catching that! You’re right, of course. Fixed now.

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