LATE MODERN: UNITED STATES 1970s

Phototype altered the way designers, typographers, and type designers would forever practice. In the 1930s, phototype was occasionally used for headlines, but in the 1970s, as ad agency type directors turned more exclusively to phototype, its use became stylistically and compositionally more eclectic. The boundaries that separated orthodox Modernism from fervent eclecticism also began to blur. Two businesses, Photo-Lettering Inc. and International Typeface Corporation (ITC), encouraged pushing the boundaries of design and expanding the definitions of type play. The former was a repository for thousands of film faces (many new and novel, some classic and common) used primarily as headlines for advertisements and in periodicals. The Photo-Lettering specimen book was a typographic bible. The latter company marked a shift from foundry to independent distributor. ITC fonts were licensed to a growing number of companies, such as Visual Graphics Corporation, which introduced the Phototypositor. Aaron Burns was a leader of this transitory period. At the Composing Room, he bent the rules of hot metal, then as cofounder of ITC, he introduced the emblematic faces of the era, including Lubalin's Avant-Garde. Faces designed for Phototype proved that type was not locked into strict Modernism.

CAPTIONS: Top: NEWS GOTHIC, type specimen (originally designed in 1908 by Morris F. Benton), 1971. Booklet designer: Aaron Burns. Bottom: AVANT GARDE LIGATURES, type specimen, 1970. Typedesigners: Herb Lubalin and Tom Carnase.

To: Early Modern Type Design