The publication featured often experimental typographic compositions juxtaposed with illustrations, cartoons, and imagery. Over issues were published between and You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
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John D. The contents might be about anything at all — from elaborate kites or Japanese shop signs to a digital-design school in Zimbabwe — but from the very beginning, the magazine itself was all about how type is used. In , the business of marketing type was entirely different from what it is today. This was a close-knit world where styles and approaches changed fast, but because the business of advertising — like the business of publishing — was so much centered in New York City, it had a worldwide effect.
The seminal idea was to license new type designs to not just one but all of the existing type-manufacturing companies, supplying them with master drawings that they could turn into usable fonts for their own systems. It was the heyday of phototypesetting; the malleability of letters that were reproduced photographically, rather than in metal, had set loose a creative revolution in graphic design, and there was an insatiable hunger for new typefaces.
ITC positioned itself to feed that hunger. But Herb Lubalin had a flair for publication design — he was already famous as the innovative designer of the provocative magazines Eros and Avant Garde — and he and Burns realized that it might actually be cheaper to publish a quarterly magazine, printed inexpensively in one color on newsprint, and simply give it away: send it for free to everyone in the industry who wanted it. At its height, the circulation was more than , — which meant an effective readership of much more, as more than one person would usually peruse each copy that went out.
This included not just practicing designers but students in design school — the practicing designers of the next generation. Each issue included several pages of ads from both type manufacturers and any other kind of advertiser who might offer a service or a product that graphic designers would want.
In this business, it was the place to be seen. You could get an immediate snapshot of the entire U. At one point, for instance, Mergenthaler Linotype regularly took five pages of advertising in every issue.
Linotype machines had been the longtime backbone of text typesetting in the United States, and the company was aggressively moving into photosetting, both text and display. There was even a period when the magazine had to turn away ads because there were just too many coming in. It gave them a sense of who they were, and the changing forms of their professional landscape.
Most of the subscribers who responded to the survey said they worked for graphic design companies, as art directors, creative directors, designers, or owners. There are architects, exhibit designers, a type designer, photographers, tapestry artists, a tattoo artist, and video artists, to name a few, reading the publication. The average age of the readers in was 47, and their average time in the business was more than 20 years — a notably experienced audience.
The magazine had served its audience well for a long time. Typography is the art of arranging type on the page — but what kind of page, and what kind of type? It was about the idea, and how to express that idea. The typefaces that ITC originally issued were targeted directly at this kind of typography.
They were big letters, with tall x-heights and large interior spaces; and they were designed to fit tightly together, in the modern style made possible by phototypesetting. In his display typography, the letters would often be not just touching but overlapping. Later ITC faces, especially some of those developed by the prolific lettering artist Ed Benguiat, reveled in this blending of typography with the visual freedom of calligraphy.
The classic example would be ITC Garamond, a family of typefaces derived from the types created by or attributed to Claude Garamond, a 16th-century French punchcutter.
When Lubalin died in , what had by now become a tradition was carried on by Ed Gottschall as editor and Bob Farber as art director. Each issue provided visual stimulation for graphic designers, who are always looking for inspiration and new ideas. Lubalin was both editor and art director, massaging the text to fit the design as well as massaging the design to suit the text — a form of creative interaction very common in the world of high-end advertising — and this dynamic relationship between form and content was a constant in the magazine, right through to the very end.
Indeed, it was the magazine, essentially. Just as ITC rode in on the wave of phototypesetting and the new freedom it gave to both users and designers of type, in the s the company had to adapt to a newer wave of desktop computers and digital fonts. These changes were talked about in the pages of the magazine, of course — how could they not be?
The business of designing type had simplified and democratized. The trick was to market and sell those fonts. Eventually, ITC took the inevitable step: selling its own fonts directly, and setting up an e-commerce website to do it. If readers of one were inclined to make the effort to read the other, then there would be a constant back-and-forth between print and web, and the readers of the print magazine might be encouraged to buy fonts from the ITC website — which at that point had become an e-commerce site, selling ITC fonts directly to the end-users.
Starting an online companion was also the obvious way to confront the changing form of publishing at the end of the 20th century. The webzine could be more immediate, more responsive than a print magazine with three months between issues. Columns are a backbone of continuity in a magazine; readers will come back to read what a favorite columnist has to say, at whatever interval the column appears.
Reviews are an obvious part of any responsive publication; they reflect on the state of the art and on new things that come along. And a further sense of immediacy comes from first-person reports of related events — in this case exhibitions, conferences, and talks in New York and elsewhere that might engage the interest of graphic designers. Each of them had provocative ideas. Eileen had strong opinions about web publishing, and a lively way of expressing them.
And I believe I was the first editor to ask Bruce Sterling to write about design a subject he now revels in. It was deliberately simple: beneath the navigation bar, there was a narrow lefthand column that was largely empty, except for titles or notes, and a main text column, sized to approximate a readable line length for extended reading.
This kind of simple, clean design invites reading, in a way that a cluttered, over-busy webpage design does not. So we used relatively few graphics — just small illustrations now and then, and typeset heads that would be converted to graphics. The other essential piece to creating an online publication was to figure out a strategy for archiving old material, and a clear navigation system for getting to it. Below that was a link to the archives which were organized chronologically, by issue; I had plans to create a cross-index by contributor as well, but this never got done.
This came as a shock to the readers. It was a choice based on hard economic realities, but it also reflected the changing world of magazine publishing. Mark was a joy to work with; he cared equally about the designs and the words, so he always paid very close attention to the readability of the text, and in fact he would sometimes have editorial suggestions or catch typoes before I would. Although Clive Chiu, who handled print production very knowledgeably and had worked with a bewildering plethora of individual designers before this, had his office right next to mine at ITC in New York, Mark van Bronkhorst worked from his home office in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The distance meant nothing to him; he was used to working remotely as was I , and we communicated perfectly well by phone, e-mail, and Fed Ex deliveries. Although I enticed Mark to come to New York once to confer directly, the basic process was done entirely at long distance. The old logo had gone through several minor revisions, but they were in the nature of repairs and subtle adaptations; in essence, it had remained the same bold, emphatic logo with the huge swash ampersand that Herb Lubalin had designed in the s.
We decided that this echo of the Seventies was no longer useful, and the 25th-anniversary issue seemed an excellent time to retire it in favor of a completely new design.
The logo that Mark came up with was more typographic, rather than calligraphic; restrained and functional, rather than exuberantly expressive. It not only reflected the new look of the magazine, but could be used in a variety of ways, both on paper and online. The old logo had forced everything around it to fit in with it; the new one clearly marked the magazine, but it was unobtrusive, not a major design element in itself. Nothing that we did in my tenure as editor created as much of a stir as changing the logo.
Readers were outraged. Nonetheless, the new logo though appreciated by some was a bone of contention to the end. Even though its circulation had been deliberately cut in its later years for a while there were even paid subscriptions , the magazine was read far and wide; it found its way into design studios all over the world.
I made a deliberate effort to cross boundaries and to bring together people and ideas from varied sources in the pages of the magazine. The ZIVA piece was one of these; others ranged across a wide field — geographically, culturally, and technologically.
In the catalog issue, vol. At the same time, in the same issue, Steven Heller wrote about the lettering of Dutch cartoonist Joost Swarte. That final issue vol. It seemed an unaccustomed luxury to be working with someone who was only a few blocks away, rather than across the country. Lowe turned in a wonderfully expansive design that presented the content well.
The magazine remained visually striking from its first issue to its last. Why was that the last issue? Rather than sell either the company or the magazine, Esselte decided to simply shut the whole thing down, in the fall of The employees were laid off, the offices were emptied, and I spent the last several weeks of my time there finding homes for the ITC archives which might otherwise have ended up in a dumpster on East 45th Street.
It was a sad end to a long story. ITC was first and foremost a product of the phototypesetting revolution; it was appropriate, though not necessarily inevitable, that it should end or at least change beyond recognition in the era of small digital foundries.
Berry West New York, N. Production by Paul Novitski of Juniper Webcraft. Berry Design by John D.
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