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1948 Olympics Regatta Riverside Concert, Henley On Thames

Contributed by Blythwood on Feb 26th, 2017. Artwork published in
August 1948
.
    Regatta programme.jpg
    License: All Rights Reserved.

    This programme for festivities to accompany rowing races in Henley-on-Thames at the 1948 Olympics is mostly set in Granby, Stephenson Blake’s humanist sans. Released to compete with Gill Sans (which is used for the italic small matter), it’s very similar to Johnston, the metal type of which Stephenson Blake crafted. It’s not, though, simply a commercial release of Johnston – while it’s similarly quite monoline (see the ‘a’ and 't’) and shares the diamond dots motif, details like the single-storey ‘g’ and Futura-ish 'R’ are its own. Printed by the local printers Higgs & Co, who are still in business. A dinner invitation from the same week uses Gill Sans italics and a spindly Old Style, presumably Monotype’s.

    Images from the Thames River & Rowing Museum at Henley, whose John Piper collection is also worth a visit if you’re in the area. They don’t credit the invitation as also being printed by Higgs, but the colour of ink and style is very similar.

    I’ve never been entirely clear what the deal with Granby was. It turns up every now and then in trade printing of its time I’ve seen, but far, far less than Gill Sans – so much so that you wonder why anyone used it at all. Presumably some printers or designers really liked it. Higgs certainly seem to have used Granby as a bit of a staple: searching the museum’s archive of their work (not necessarily representative as it only shows front covers, and publicity matter rather than their newspaper work), I find Granby used quite a lot from 1936 through to at least the early 1960s regularly, and as late as 1979 in one case.

    1997_95_6.jpg
    License: All Rights Reserved.

    Typefaces

    • Granby
    • Gill Sans
    • Monotype Old Style

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