Beginning at the top is the Polaroid mark I did in 1958, its application to package design and corporate identity, which is the bottom panel just above the date, 1958. Somewhere in the lower right of the photo is the corporate sign POLAROID, identical to the mark above. On the left are package designs for Polaroid Sunglasses, 1962, Polaroid Colorpack and black-and-white filmpacks, package design for a Polaroid Colorpack camera, and to the far left, package design and product identity for Polavision, 1977. At the bottom of the row is a package design and product identity for a Polaroid Square Shooter camera. In the row on the right are package designs and product identity for Polaroid SX-70 cameras and accessories, dating from 1972, and just below is a photo of package design for Polaroid Pronto!
Quotes from an article by John Weich, in Grafik [UK} August 2005 --
"Like Apple today, Polaroid supplemented its superior product with superior branding. . . ." "In 1958 the company decided to hire freelance designer Paul Giambarba with a view to revitalizing the brand. This was the start of a relationship that was to last an amazing twenty-five years—Giambarba changed the face of Polaroid. He was responsible for creating packaging for Polaroid's Colorpacks, its SX-70, Square Shooter and Square Shooter 2 and the OneSteps. Giambarba's first initiative was to transform the logo into an uppercase News Gothic, and his second was to give the company's B&W film shelf distinction by way of black end panels, which were easily discernible in its TV spots (which, of course, were black and white). "The first round of rebranding lent Polaroid some design credibility, but its second, more significant evolution elevated the brand to design icon. . . ." Thank you, John and thank you, Grafik Editor Caroline Roberts.
Grafik is the UK's only magazine dedicated entirely to showcasing the most exciting new graphic design work every month. It's also an essential tool for a designer in search of information and inspiration.
Linn Boyd Benton, 1844-1932
Linn Boyd Benton – born 1844 in Little Falls, New Jersey, died 1932 in Plainfield, New Jersey.
The American engineer Linn Boyd Benton founded ATF (the American Typefounders Company) in 1892. In the 1880s, Benton invented a pantographic punch-cutting machine, industrializing typeface production. Benton’s invention simplified the process of matrix production, and paved the way for future technologies, such as Ottmar Mergenthaler’s Linotype Machine (1886). Benton’s skill as an inventor and businessman changed the American typographic landscape forever.
ATF was a conglomeration of over 20 American type foundries. Its most famous employee was probably Benton’s son, Morris Fuller Benton [see below] who worked for ATF for most of his life. The Bentons and ATF are largely responsible for the bringing of sans serif type into mainstream design usage. Throughout the 1800s, sans serif typefaces were limited to advertising and display purposes; they were almost always set very large and black on the page. Today, sans serif typefaces are used all over the world to set text as well as headlines. The breadth of the sans serif medium has grown to rival serif typography in overall usage.
The invention of the pantographic punch-cutting machine separated the designing of typefaces from their production as fonts for the first time. As the 20th Century began, increasing numbers of typefaces appeared that were drawn by type designers (a new profession) but produced by separate punch cutters. This trend continued through several technological developments, and only began to wane during the digital revolution of the 1980s, when many type designers began using personal computers to produce and distribute their fonts.
Morris Fuller Benton, circa 1915
Patricia Cost's book, and even the link to it, will tell the story of this gifted father-and-son team at ATF. It's my opinion that they were the greatest force to be reckoned with in this country's typography and printing. It's gratifying to know that the story of their lives allows us all to know so much about them.
These links will add more pertinent information for you:
News Gothic meets Polaroid, 1958
Product ID for all models at a later date
It's best to keep that in mind when talking about typefaces, especially this one. Properly used it's graceful and beautiful. I set the disply line above almost 50 years ago with a German Berthold Staromat, similar to the clunky American Typositor. The setting is too tight, though a severe kiss-fit would be even worse. We joked that kiss-fit was all the rage then, mostly because the work was done in basements by operators who didn't understand much English.
There are many different versions of this ubiquitous face, originally designed for the English language. Below is Berthold's version, unique to them but a bit clumsy upon close inspection. The Diatronic was their entry into the digital world. The big drawback was its high cost and lack of a monitor. Typesetting was flying blind with an instruction manual in German. I sent it back after a lengthy trial run.
Stanley Morison, drawing by William Rothenstein, 1913
Stanley Morison is usually credited with the design of the typeface, though there are others credited as well. It was cut for the most famous newspaper in the English language, the Times of London with characters a bit condensed to fit more to column widths.
On a dissenting note, this is what Typography for Lawyers has to say about Times New Roman:
" . . . . Fame has a dark side. When Times New Roman appears in a book, document, or advertisement, it connotes apathy. It says, 'I submitted to the font of least resistance.' Times New Roman is not a font choice so much as the absence of a font choice, like the blackness of deep space is not a color. To look at Times New Roman is to gaze into the void.
"If you have a choice about using Times New Roman, please stop. Use something else. . . ."
Which only proves that lawyers don't always know everything.
Times New Roman is still one of the best typefaces to be found today. It isn't always used well, any more than lawyers can always deliver a convincing argument to win each case they try in court.
Caslon was the typeface we used for banks and institutional advertising literature pieces when we wanted a distinctive classy look that didn't interfere with the reader's comprehension of the piece.
It's difficult to imagine a more appropriate typeface. What makes it all the more remarkable is that Caslon was designed and cut in the early eighteenth century. Wikipedia will fill you in on the details.
Click on images to enlarge them.
Caslon specimen page courtesy of the Gutenberg Museum, named after Johann Gutenberg, the inventor of printing from moveable metal type. It is located opposite the cathedral in the old part of Mainz, Germany.
Antique Caslon Italic
How to identify Caslon by its distinctive features, source unknown
Digital Caslon by Adobe
Caslon 540 Italic with Initial swash A
Caslon Italic Swash initial caps, which should only be used as initial letters and never an entire word
I've included this extraordinary talent for all the amazing things he has done, which you can read about in more detail at the link above and by clicking here.
Typography, like music, is art. It is also a discipline. Music has notes, typography has an alphabet. In these briefest of brief posts, let me show you some simple melodies from the best of the best. Designers like me who courted this attractive but fickle muse in the last century learned from trial and error which type faces to use for specific projects on our drawing tables. There was never any one face or one size that fit all and mistakes proved to be both costly and embarrassing. Type setting was done by specialists who followed the layouts and type specs they were given. Woe unto those who asked for the impossible. It's why we were dependent upon the specimen books that showed which faces were available in specific sizes.
Garamond by Claude Garamond, French, circa 1531
For this helpful graphic we are indebted to Barney Carroll for his Garamond v Garamond Physiology of a Typeface that illustrates how each type foundry cut its own version of Garamond.
The Calendar, by T.M. Cleland dated 1927 in The Decorative Work of T.M. Cleland by Alfred E. Hamill, 1929.
Thomas Maitland Cleland (1880-1964) was commissioned by the American Type Foundry to create decorative pieces in the style of the Garamond type face he designed for them in collaboration with Morris Fuller Benton (1872-1948), head of ATF's design department. Benton was most prolific as a type designer and created the News Gothic type face for ATF, which I used for my Polaroid product imagery in 1958.
An italic face of great beauty. In additon to many ligatures, there is an alphabet of initial letters. They were never intended to be used sparingly and to see them used for every character in a sentence is an affront.
Adobe Garamond is available among other type faces bundled on some of today's computers
Thanks to my very good friend of many decades and noted book designer Dick Bartlett for his kindness in providing some of these images.
Roman Letter Forms
and how we got Polaroid set into News Gothic type
Appropriate typography is necessary to create decent branding. It has to be compatible with the product and product line, for commerce and/or publishing, and with the graphics to which it is an integral part. I hope to show those who are interested how the following typefaces came to life in the languages and the time in which they were created.
Roman emperor Julius Caesar, 100BC- 44BC
from a bust in the Naples National Archaeological Museum, Naples, Italy
These are characters of the Roman, or Latin, alphabet, which date back from the days of the Caesars and from which most of our typography has been based. From a promotional book by James Hayes for R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company on the occasion of the exhibition The Roman Letter, Chicago, Illinois, 1951-52
The Pantheon, Rome, Italy circa 200 AD. Photo by Andrew Giambarba, 2006
Roman letters photographed with a Polaroid Colorpack II in the Roman Forum, Paul Giambarba, 1959
Roman capitals drawn by Albrecht Dürer, Nuremberg, Germany, 1535
Next: 1531, Garamond