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Let’s Talk Type! from Metropolis newspaper

Contributed by Mark Simonson on Jun 8th, 2015. Artwork published in
April 1977
    Let’s Talk Type! from Metropolis newspaper
    Source: Photo: Mark Simonson. Mark Simonson. License: All Rights Reserved. Artwork by Mark Simonson.

    I posted this to my blog years ago, but thought this would be a good place for it.

    In 1977 at age 21, I was production manager (officially) and assistant art director (unofficially) for Metropolis, a weekly newspaper in Minneapolis. I was the resident “type expert” on staff, and the editor encouraged me to write a piece for “Final Draft,” a recurring miscellany page in the newspaper. I chose to survey the landscape of type clichés of the day.

    15 Comments on “Let’s Talk Type! from Metropolis newspaper”

    1. Hilarious. “About the only place [typefaces like Stripes] are ever used is in ads for type companies.” Case in point.

    2. Love this! “Typologist” (from the credit line at the bottom) is a term rarely seen in our field, probably because it has more to do with typology than typography.

    3. Also amusing to see “Schwash Schlockery” now that Mark released the swash-filled Bookmania 40 years later. His mocking sample above is still better than most of the misused swashes out there. I suppose the standards were higher back when most type was set by professionals.

    4. I have to admit that I had fun setting these at the time and couldn’t help but try to make them look good, even though I considered them to be clichés. I went through my Bookman Swash period in high school (not to mention others in the list), and, at 21, I was past all that. But part of me still liked it. And apparently still does.

    5. I love that every sample uses the so-trendy (to the 70s) negative leading.
    6. When I think of 70s type, the first one that comes to mind is Dubbeldik, preferably via Letraset. Brings me right back to secondary [high] school.

    7. Which type catalog was 21 year old Mark’s favorite?

    8. Probably the Lettergraphics catalog. I sent away for it from an ad in U&lc. It was a showcase for film fonts you could get for a relatively inexpensive Typositor-like machine I desperately wanted the newspaper to buy. I can’t recall the name of it, but it cost about $2000. Never got it so I settled for Letraset, Normatype and the like. Letraset was the best, but also the most expensive. The Lettergraphics catalog was hard core. Still comes in handy for identifying fonts.

      Lettragraphics catalog spread

    9. Looks like some insane variety in that package!

      Thanks for sharing that image, Mark! Very cool!

    10. That’s just a spread from the catalog showing fonts you could order individually. Don’t recall the price per font but if you set a lot of headlines it could eventually save money compared to Letraset over time. No way you would buy all of those in a package, though.
    11. Yes. 16" tall. Collector’s edition, as it says on the tin. Personalized with white Letraset, protected with Scotch tape. :-)

      Lettergraphics catalog cover, 1976.

    12. (This thing has never fit properly on a bookshelf.)

    13. Elmtree says:
      Jun 13th, 2015 9:52 pm

      Goodness, that’s some tight setting. I feel dizzy looking at the Souvenir sample. A brilliant parody.

    14. Really Great!!!

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