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Photo-Lettering ITC Benguiat ad

Contributed by Stephen Coles on Jul 27th, 2016. Artwork published in
March 1978
Photo-Lettering ITC Benguiat ad
Source: © U&lc. License: All Rights Reserved.

This PLINC ad in U&lc, Vol. 5, No. 1, March 1978 is among the first appearances of ITC Benguiat designed a few months before. It shows ligatures (AB, AE, AH, AK, AR, LA, SS) or “logo letters” not found in the digital version. The ornamental border emphasizes the Art Nouveau roots of Ed Benguiat’s typeface. He may have been the designer of this ad.

5 Comments on “Photo-Lettering ITC Benguiat ad”

  1. ITC Benguiat, ligs and all, as it was first shown in U&lc, Dec. 1977 [PDF].

  2. Ed Benguiat says:
    May 16th, 2019 11:50 am

    When I designed this font I was not thinking “Art Nouveau” style. My thought was  just to create a beautiful font that would fit the need for a highly readable serifed font. So far since its 1978 introduction it’s considered a typographic mainstay and not considered as an Art Nouveau style font at all.

  3. Alejandro Epifanio says:
    Oct 22nd, 2020 6:25 pm

    Thank you for your insight into your own work and the distinguished contributions to this field. Rest in Peace Mr. Benguiat.

  4. David Chamberlain says:
    Dec 5th, 2021 5:24 pm

    Was there any reason the ligatures were not included in the digital version? They are distinctive and a bit quirky so their loss is rather sad.

  5. In the early phase of digitization, the aim was to quickly convert large quantities of typefaces and make them usable on the computer somehow. The extra glyphs were considered non-crucial, and largely a nuisance. Technically, too, it wasn’t trivial. Now all glyphs had to be assigned to specific characters in order to be accessible. The pre-OpenType font formats didn’t really allow the inclusion of alternates or discretionary ligatures. Some manufacturers offered them in separate “Expert” fonts. As this was also pre-Unicode, such special glyphs were offered under unrelated codepoints: You would type “ALPHABET”, and if you wanted to insert the “AB” ligature, you had to switch to the Expert font, where that glyph was encoded as, say, left curly bracket. So you ended up with a nonsensical underlying text string, “ALPH{ET”, in two different fonts. As kerning doesn’t work across fonts, you had to adjust that manually, if necessary. In short, a nightmare. In most cases, any extras hence were discarded. When OpenType was introduced, manufacturers typically didn’t go back to the original sources, but built on what had already been digitized before. It’s sad indeed.

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