13 March 2012
Type Tuesday. Baby love
Andy Martin and his affection for the Studio Book of Alphabets
Sometime in the early 1950s (before even I was born) my old man bought a copy of this small gem of a book while on leave from the navy, an early sign of his ongoing quest for self improvement, writes Andy Martin.
I remember leafing through it when I was growing up, and as he was pretty handy with the sable brush, a convincing script and serviceable serif, I’m guessing he got his five shillings’ worth.
Above: Granby Shadow and Gill Shadow Sans Serif, below: Thetis and Brush Letters, bottom: Carnelian and Playbill.
Maybe it echoed an earlier time when, as an apprentice, he’d make himself useful in the local printers’ office, but for me it was certainly one of those key artefacts which subliminally caused my eight-year-old mind to recognise the beauty and variety of type.
Opening it today, one finds a heady mix reflecting the mid-century taste for informal scripts, whimsical serifs and heavy shadows. There were subsequent editions, the bindings of which hint at the ‘progress’ of reinvention, rediscovery. As with most compendia, a few of the entries miss the ‘period’ mark but on the whole these books give a concise snapshot of the popular typography of the day.
Images courtesy: Linzie Hunter.
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