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Living in the Present

Illustration and typeface work hand-in-hand on this paperback cover from the ’60s.

Contributed by Stephen Coles on Dec 8th, 2010. Artwork published in 1960.


Found in Julian Montegue’s fabulous book cover collection, this design is credited to Barbara Gillruth, one of the many unsung mid-century book cover designers who gets zero results on Google.

I can’t say if the illustration fits the subject matter (anyone know the book?) but the type certainly fits the image. One wonders which came first. Lydian is pre-digital, designed by Warren Chappell in 1938, but it would have been worth building a kern pair for that ‘WA’.

The price is curious. Underinked and on an angle, it appears stamped. But it’s also set in Lydian. Wha?

8 Comments on “Living in the Present”

  1. Kate says:
    Dec 21st, 2010  2:02 pm

    Just a guess on the price--I have a fair amount of old books from my grandparents' collections and a lot of them have similar fading on the edge. Generally it's caused by the edge of the book being pulled out from the shelf just enough to cause light/sun fading. The same fading seems to be evident (though less prominently) in the titles--notice the ends of "John" and "Wain" are more algae green on the N's and almost teal at the J and W.

  2. Doktorb says:
    Dec 21st, 2010  2:07 pm

    I can't help on the price being in the same font, though a Google search finds this British cover variant:

  3. Wolfgang says:
    Dec 22nd, 2010  11:06 am

    Hey, the Lydian font is also used for the corporate design of the famous "Thalia-Theater" in Hamburg - one of the best known Theaters in Germany. Its used for flyers, posters and the website.

  4. David Merrill says:
    Jan 24th, 2011  5:01 pm

    If the cover is pre-digital, then so may be the production. Hence, the price being slightly "on an angle" would not be surprising if it was waxed to a blue-lined pasteup board and then hustled to the printer in a warm car. Many are the carefully spaced and straightened subheads that vanished in a warm car.

  5. Jan 24th, 2011  6:04 pm

    I think I would trade the coolness of an auto-aligned InDesign document for a warm car wax mishap any day of the week.

  6. Indra says:
    Jan 24th, 2011  6:18 pm

    “Auto-aligned” just got a whole new connotation.

  7. Feb 28th, 2011  2:36 pm

    Lydian will forever remind me of As the World Turns, having been the logo font for the first 25 of that show's 54 years.

  8. Feb 28th, 2011  4:56 pm

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