Just your type
If you are into type I defy you to open any page in this thick, chunky book and not be grabbed. I would guess that each page has between six and nine examples of custom lettering all sorted into an amazing number of categories. The Contents for the 60s pages have forty-four sections with many sub-divisions: Geometric Sans is further divided into another eight sections. Rian Hughes says in his Intro (rather annoyingly set in six point) that he sorted out his collection of about 10,000 type examples into a hundred definable styles.
Unlike lead set type, with its inflexibility, hand-lettering offered a chance for much more character and immediacy especially for headlines in ads and editorial. Apart from the logos and mastheads in these pages everything else is a one use bit of type and to a certain extent it shows, too. With 4500 examples perhaps a bit more selectivity would have been useful.
I thought it was interesting to compare the same categories in the 60s and 70s. The latter seem much more considered and creative than a lot of the 60s styles. Throughout the two decades designers became much more aware and appreciative of interesting typography, helped off course by the increasing range of styles offered by the graphic arts industry. Why set a headline in lead when so much more choice was available film set.
With so many examples these pages could have looked a mess but instead, despite all the different shapes, it all hangs together beautifully though I thought more color could have been used. The few spreads in color really stand out from hundreds in black only. The matt art paper and good printing gives the book that final finish.
There is another edition by Rian Hughes devoted to 40s and 50s custom lettering. Both books present an interesting cornucopia of type ideas for that next ad campaign or magazine article headline.
Custom Lettering of the 60s & 70s is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN)
Contents for the 60s pages.
Some Victorian types that actually existed as lead set type.
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