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Ulysses by James Joyce, Random House

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Jun 16th, 2016. Artwork published in .
    Source: Royal Books. License: All Rights Reserved.

    New York: Random House, 1934. First American edition. The typeface in use is Magere Weiß-Kapitale a.k.a. Weiss Initials No.1.

    “Probably the best known design I ever made.” — Ernst Reichl

    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    “Ernst Reichl’s title spread breaks a title across the gutter for the first time in the history of American book design, with the large initial establishing the design concept for the interior text.” — Martha Scotford

    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    “With reference back to the title spread, each section begins with an opening spread that jolts the reader with a large initial and the first words of the text in all caps. As with the title, Reichl used an enlarged Weiss initial, redrawn in a slightly condensed manner. The basic text face is Baskerville.” — Martha Scotford

    Source: Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript library. License: All Rights Reserved.
    Source: Jon Wessel. License: All Rights Reserved.

    The title on the jacket is handlettered. The author’s name in reversed lowercase letters is in Futura Black. See Reichl’s mockup of the dust jacket drawn in 1933 on

    Source: Genetic Joyce Studies, University of Antwerp. License: All Rights Reserved.


    • Weiß-Initialen
    • Baskerville
    • Futura Black




    Artwork location

    4 Comments on “Ulysses by James Joyce, Random House”

    1. Jun 16th, 2016  9:40 am

      See more images on the website about Ernst Reichl’s work compiled at Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript library, and read about how this edition came into existence in Martha Scotford’s article for Design Observer. Learn more about Ernst Reichl in her follow-up.

    2. John Sizemore says:
      Apr 19th, 2017  6:11 am
      That’s not Weiss Initials
    3. Apr 19th, 2017  6:35 am

      John, there are three Weiss Initials: Nos. 1, 2, 3. This is No. 1.

      Weiss Initials No.1

    4. Apr 19th, 2017  8:53 am

      Later on, there was even a fourth style, Weiß-Lapidar kräftig, a bolder version of Weiß-Lapidar mager, the design initially introduced as Weiß-Initialen Serie II and internationally best known as Weiss Initials No.2. Attached is an overview of the four styles as shown in a Bauer specimen, c. 1950, courtesy of Hans Reichardt. See the typeface bio for more info.

      Also note that some styles include Romanesque alternates for ‘A’, ‘E’, and ‘G’ which can drastically alter the appearance. Wellsbrook by Spiece Graphics is the only digital version to span all four styles.

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