The Year In Pictures… In Type

  • Fonts in Use
Fonts in Use | Yves Peters | October 5, 2009

This little gem was unearthed on Googlebooks by fellow Typophile, FontFeed reader and Facebook friend Simon Robertson. He found this cover for Life magazine dating from December 29, 1972. The special double-sized issue gives an overview of the year 1972 in pictures. Strangely enough though, the cover shows no photos at all. Instead it lists all the events chronicled in the issue in a variety of different typefaces.

Such documents are valuable reference material that tell us what typefaces were popular in certain periods of time, and this cover reveals the “hot faces” of the early seventies. Of course I couldn’t resist when Simon – indirectly – challenged me in his Facebook status message.

Great cover – the year in pictures, yet none used for the cover! Typefreaks, can you name all the typefaces? I can’t :-)

Brace yourselves, here they are. Please be aware that specific characters may differ from the currently available digitised versions, like for example the alternate capital “A” in Memphis. The big white headline is set in Futura Display; the orange type in the background (in alphabetical order):

Do you see a typeface that I missed, or do you think I misidentified one? Let me know in the comments.

In related news – fans of magazine covers should head over to the NMCA website I recently discovered through the Grafik magazine fan page on Facebook.

The Nation Magazine Cover Archive is a non-commercial “hobbysite” devoted to helping keep inspirational magazine design alive. These are strange days for editorial designers with homogenisation and closure of many well known (and loved) titles and independent publishers emerging to fill the gaps. Just don’t forget to vote with your feet! Support quality magazines. Don’t let them die.

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  1. hehe, thanks for the mention, but i only heard about these mags being on google books from this typophile thread:

    Posted by Simon Robertson on Oct. 5, 2009
  2. ps, i’ve just discovered that i really like futura display…

    Posted by Simon Robertson on Oct. 5, 2009
  3. Yves, can you mark the letters in doubt? (where is the Zapf)
    hard to tell, but I’d say it’s Helvetica. did they use Folio in the US?

    Posted by Indra on Oct. 5, 2009
  4. OK, the Zapf-esque words are “ABORTION” right of the big white “Year”, and “JACKIE” in the centre at the very bottom.

    Posted by Yves Peters on Oct. 5, 2009
  5. You could be right about Folio/Helvetica – it is a pre-digital version after all, so the little differences could be due to this fact. But maybe they’re both in there. “EAGLETON” under the big white “The” looks like Folio, and “GOODBYE” in the bottom right corner probably is Helvetica.

    Posted by Yves Peters on Oct. 5, 2009
  6. The one that I haven’t found yet (but I haven’t checked any non-digital sources yet) is used for both “BREZHNEV” in the centre at the very top, and “HANOI” right under the big white “1”. Note the slight downwards curve in the diagonal on the “N”.

    Posted by Yves Peters on Oct. 5, 2009
  7. Nice cover. CHILDREN OF GOD (right under logo) looks like Didot? Suddenly found fun RIO (from Bulmer?) between Y and E in big white YEAR

    Posted by Sergey on Oct. 5, 2009
  8. I think you are correct about Didot – it looks the same typeface like “MISS AMERICAN PIE” in the lower left area. I’ve added it to the list.

    And regarding Bulmer – I was hesitating to add that one (also for “BERRIGANS”, the third word under the big white “P”), but the serifs almost disappear so I don’t know for sure. Also the upwards bit in the G seems to extend higher than the version of Bulmer I have here before me. It could be a display version that hasn’t been digitised though.

    Posted by Yves Peters on Oct. 6, 2009
  9. what is MAFIA in between the white ISSUE and IN?

    also, for those playing at home, if you click on the Googlebooks link you can zoom in to see a much higher res version :-)

    Posted by Simon Robertson on Oct. 6, 2009
  10. That’s Stymie. Together with Beton and Memphis I have the impression they used every single geometric slab serif they could. :)

    I’ll add it to the list.

    Posted by Yves Peters on Oct. 6, 2009
  11. ah, i can never pick stymie… and yeah it seems so!

    Posted by Simon Robertson on Oct. 7, 2009
  12. Pretty sure BERRIGANS is Century Expanded. BREZHNEV and HANOI are Weiss Initials No. 2. ABORTION and JACKIE are definitely Melior. I think WOMEN’S LIB and SHRIVER are Torino Italic. SATAN and AGNES feature the alternate A that Stymie had in the metal version.

    Posted by Mark Simonson on Oct. 7, 2009
  13. On second thought, SHRIVER might be Century Expanded Italic.

    Posted by Mark Simonson on Oct. 7, 2009

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