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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. Jun 8th, 2015  2:54 pm

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

    2. Jun 8th, 2015  3:44 pm

      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. Jun 8th, 2015  4:00 pm

      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. Jun 8th, 2015  4:27 pm

      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. Jun 8th, 2015  8:18 pm
      I love that every sample uses the so-trendy (to the 70s) negative leading.
    6. Colm Delaney says:
      Jun 8th, 2015  9:00 pm

      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. Cave Grove says:
      Jun 9th, 2015  4:08 am

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

    8. Jun 9th, 2015  4:35 am

      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. Cave Grove says:
      Jun 9th, 2015  4:46 am

      Looks like some insane variety in that package!

      Thanks for sharing that image, Mark! Very cool!

    10. Jun 9th, 2015  5:07 am
      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. Jun 9th, 2015  11:17 am
      Is that the super tall/narrow catalog, Mark?
    12. Jun 9th, 2015  5:00 pm

      Yes. 16" tall. Collector’s edition, as it says on the tin. Personalized with white Letraset, protected with Scotch tape. :-)

      Lettergraphics catalog cover, 1976.

    13. Jun 9th, 2015  5:01 pm

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

    14. 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.

    15. johnny feron says:
      Dec 24th, 2017  8:56 am

      Really Great!!!

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