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Apple Advertising of the 1970s–80s

Contributed by Robin Rendle  on Sep 26th, 2012. Artwork published in
circa 1977

Belwe Bold was beautifully used here in an advertisement from Byte Magazine (1977) for the Apple II

License: All Rights Reserved.

When the Apple II came to market, Apple Computer (as it was known then) used a series of iconic advertisements that set the tone for the company and the computing market in general. Many of them contained Belwe Bold and a combination of Goudy Heavyface Condensed for titling purposes, creating a distinct visual punch to their ads that only goes to highlight the stale typographic environment that we find today.

However, these typographic treatments conflict historically with one another. Belwe was designed by an early twentieth century German typographer whilst Goudy Heavyface was likewise created by an early twentieth century American typographer. These typefaces cannot be described as even distant relatives of Apple Computer’s logo, Motter Textura, as shown below. 

Whilst Apple prepared for the release of the Macintosh in 1984 they decided to move away from some of their use of Bauhaus inspired typography and began to develop a new typographic language for the company. Subsequently they asked Bitstream to work with them in the production. However, instead of making a new typeface from scratch, they simply looked at ITC Garamond condensed and decided to push the limits of these letterforms. According to Wikipedia

ITC Garamond (created by Tony Stan in 1977) was condensed to 80% of its normal width. Presumably, Apple felt that the existing ITC Garamond Condensed, at 64%, was too narrow.

The layout and typesetting of these advertisements seem to be influenced by the advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather; Apple used a single image followed by a bold headline and then a small article beneath that was split into several columns, a format that was popularised in severalverysuccessfuladverts.

Is this another example of an homage, or a rip off?


A closer look at Apple Garamond.

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Founding father Ben Franklin was a Mac? Goudy Heavyface is used here as the titling face and Apple Garamond was chosen for the columns of text beneath.

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More Goudy Heavyface up front, whilst Motter Textura hides in the corner.

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The popular slogan of Apple’s was created in 1997 by the Los Angeles office of advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day. Here we can see Apple Garamond being used to full effect.

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This early version of the Apple logo and company name was used throughout the 1970s. The typeface, Motter Textura, was designed by the late Othmar Motter.

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All Goudy Old Style for an ad in Byte Magazine, November 1982.

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1 Comment on “Apple Advertising of the 1970s–80s”

  1. David Lemon says:
    Sep 28th, 2012  1:28 am

    The first “Apple Garamond” was indeed an algorithmically-condensed version of ITC Garamond. It was done by Adobe, had only one weight, and was named ITC Garamond Narrow. Apple later worked with Bitstream to get the Apple Garamond family drawn (resulting in better weighting & contrast than the algorithmic version).

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