Twciitv Years ol Advertising Typography, or, Up from the Cutter 1 Sculptors and Draughtsmen will Fashion the English Type-faces of the Future By Paul Beaujon The Hobson Era Greetings from a German Contemporary ADVERTISER'S WEEKLY 130 JtlLY 28, 1932 IT may all be part of the refusal to wince at the word trade," but the fact is that a very large Proportion of modern British advertisements now look- as if they were meant to be read by literate people with some aesthetic sensi- bility, whereas the pre-war advertise- ment, often very distinguished so far as illustration or copy were solely concerned, generally looked as if it were written for boors and designers of Christmas cards. The difference, to the disinterested eye, is almost entirely typographic. Two U.S. Groups By 1913 America had developed two vigorous and unashamed schools of adver tising. Mr. T. M. Cleland was ritting the deeorative motifs of the past with exquisite discretion, and his many imita- tors were rifling his stuffand the museumswith no discretion at all. Of far more influence was the school founded by Mr. Will Bradley, given its type e piipment by the rotund, earnest and civilised faces of Mr. F. W. Goudy, and strongly influenced and humanised by F. W. Cooper. Meanwhile, in England, a small handful of idealists had concluded that adver tising, was after all, a form of printing, and might be susceptible to the rules of decent printing. One has only to glance at such a booklet as the Carlton Studio's Finishing Touches to the Printer's Handiwork published in January, 1910, to see what utterly elementary prineiples had to be argued for in italics for the benefit of the space-shv advertisers of those days. I believe that Mr. Joseph Thorp was the author of t his stimulating work I know that his Printing for Business" was of inestimable Service to advertising. A Great Journal The Imprint was the first monument of the new commercial typography, and the presence of Mr. J. H. Mason, that great typographical purist, and Mr. Edward Johnston, the Jesse from whom sprang the whole of the present-day calligraphic movement, on the board of The Imprint under the courageous leadership of Mr. Gerard T. Meynell, bears witness to the new kudos wliich the art was about to acquire. The war years, which killed The Imprint, were the incubator of what we would call good British advertising typo graphy. Perhaps the most important date in the whole period under discussion is that of the formation of the Pelican Press in 1910. There had been previous groups interested in effective typography, notably one which included Messrs. Thorp, Percy Gossop, (Sir) Charles Higham, and II. E. Morgan before the war, but what they lacked was the very soil in which advertising prestige grows a really adequate repertory of type faces. Back to Decoration By 1916, however, it was possible for Mr. Francis Meynell to import the fine Cloister face from the American Type- founders Company, to do something really impressive in Mr. Goudy's Forum Capitals. anda survival from Mr. Meynell's days with Burns and Oates to form ingenious and charming varia- tions with the old printers' flowers. In 1918 Mr. Stanley Morison joined the Pelican Press, and its repertory took a more exotic style in consequence, with the importation of Peignot's Cochin in 1920 and the same foundry's delicate deeorative capitals. These were the years in which Mr. Charles W. Hobson was beginning to alter the whole face of British advertising. Mr. Hobson is neither a layout man, illus- trator nor copywriter, but there are few versed in the history of Publicity who could not say with some confidence that a given piece was pre-Hobson or post- Hobson. By this time a type repertory was at hand for construetive work. Some of us It is with extraordinary pleasure that I take to-day the opportunity of con- gratulating you on the appearance of the i,oooth issue of the Advertiser's Weekly. A birthday like this is juSt for us a special occasion to share with you the proud feeling that you naturallv will have at this happy event. One of the reasons for this is that we are born at about the same time as you, and that we always have looked with especial pleasure and inteceft at the growth and progress of your magazine which was always of importance, always a leader in its field. Ever your magazine was for us the measuring Stick to prove our own efforts. MAX R. LANG, Editor of Die (Berlin) can remember the shock of delight with which A.T.F. Garamond was reeeived by publicity designers. The other greal discovery was Monotype Plantin, whicl is still the face that the agencies come back to when they are not sure about anything eise. This Plantin was not a "period" type, and did not encourage museum- looted decorations but it worked well with headings in the new posterish types from GermanyMaximilian, Narcissus and finally Neulandwhich Mr. Morison was responsible for introducing in this country. The whole movement which was called modernism until it ceased to be modern, attacked America like a case of measles which does more damage the later it arrives. When Werbekunst was labeltal art decoratif, then at last it took.1' Veiling the word German under the blessed word Continental," commercial typographers in America certainly pro- vided an undreamed-of market for the great German type foundries headed bj Klingspor. They had waked up a little too late for the Neuland excitement, but just in time for the sans-serif ragebefore which the American foundries hesitated too long and underwent a serious loss of prestige in consequence. A British Sans-serif The later 1920's were hardly able typographically to reflect the cult of starkness the more advanced phase of machine idolatrybefore the fashion itself had begun to pass over. With the arrival of Mr. Eric Gill's sans serif this style was able to find its happiest and least self-conscious expression in England, The Deberny and Peignot Bifur had a succ£s d'estime, but little more. Parallel with all the shock" and "stark" types Bernhard Schönschrift (Madonna Ronde and Nicholas Cochin have been providing sophisticated light relief, and indeed the only exceptions to the rule that nothing goes completely out of style in England are the German posterish letters and the old flower border, which about 1927 gave way to an inventive use of piain rules. Whether or not we can credit the rumour in America that the new style will be Georgian, bookish and sauve, with more emphasis on classic text faces than on headlines, we can at least foresee that the whole attitude and appearance of adver tising must change with changing econo mic conditions. Big Type Goes Out ivith Big Drum Bellowing is as dead as a doornail. If a man is not given reasons for buying goods, he simply will not buy them. And you cannot reason in 36 pt. fat face. Whatever lies ahead, it is naturally not what we expect, eise there would be no new departures. It is easy to expect that freak types will get more and more freakish. It is much more reasonable to suppose that freakish- ness itself will go out of fashion. We have in this country what is admitted to be t he best repertory of book faces in the modern world. We are sadly lacking in first-rate letterers, but in the country of John Baskerville that can be only a temporary poverty, and it is the sculptors and draughtsmen of the aiphabet, like Eric Gill and Edward Johnston, who will make the new style something more than a mere revival.

Advertiser's Weekly en | 1932 | | page 42