Cannery Row by John Steinbeck, first editions
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From top to bottom:
1. ATF Brush (ATF Collection’s digital version, 2015)
2. US jacket: ‘C’ stops short of connecting to ‘a’, exit stroke of ‘n’ is flatter, ‘ow’ is joined at the top.
3. US title page: this apparently is typeset.
4. UK jacket: identical to 2. The slightly heavier appearance is likely due to the reproduction.
5. UK cover (front): pretty close to the typographic version. Some proportions and angles are off, though. Note the top of ‘r’.
6. UK cover (spine): interestingly, this rendering is again different. The ‘ow’ pair is joined at the top, like on the cover, but other details (a, r, y and, in particular, R) suggest that this is an independent piece of lettering.
The jacket design for Of Mice And Men (1937) is another, more obvious example of lettering derived from a typeface. With the production methods of that time, sticking to type simply offered no real advantage, on the contrary.
In this technological regard, the letterforms on the dust jackets for Steinbeck’s The Pearl (1947) and A Russian Journal (1948) are a peculiar case, too: They are likewise lettered and derivative. The model here is not typeface, but rather a historic piece of lettering, namely an alphabet drawn by Eric Gill for W H Smith & Sons. Only in 1996 did Colin Banks turn these shapes into a typeface named Gill Facia.