Friday, August 19, 2011

About U.S. / The Composing Room / 1960

Of the four About U.S. sixteen page booklets (left) of experimental typography I always thought Herb Lubalin’s Come home to jazz (see July 22 Post) the most interesting visually. The booklets were a keepsake from the New York designer typesetters The Composing Room and they had originally been printed in the monthly German graphic arts magazine Der Druckspiegel.
    Come home to jazz was the first (I posted that in July). Brownjohn, Chermayeff & Geismar designed the second issue That New York, third was The age of the auto by Lester Beall and Gene Federico’s Love of apples was the fourth. I didn’t think the last three had the same fizz and playfulness that Lubalin put into his effort though they all reflect the vitality that was present in American design from the mid-Fifties onward.
   That New York was probably the most experimental typographically of the four booklets with plenty of quirky type ideas: check out the page numbers and the use of rules on pages fourteen and fifteen. Brownjohn, Chermayeff & Geismar’s clever use of numbers and the words: 1ne; 2wo; 7even; 10n were later developed into a fun little book attached by a cord to the British published Typographica Magazine in 1962 and published in 2006 by Chronicle books as Watching words move (ISBN 9780811852142).

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