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VGC Photo Typositor 3000/3100 and 3200 logos

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Feb 26th, 2017. Artwork published in
circa 1975
.
VGC Photo Typositor 3000/3100 and 3200 logos 1
Source: www.flickr.com Joe Clark (cropped). License: All Rights Reserved.

The Photo Typositor was a major display phototypesetting machine invented by Murray Friedel in 1959 and marketed by the Visual Graphics Corporation (VGC). [Peter Bain]

The Photo Typositor 3000, which was advertised as new in U&lc, vol. 2, no. 2 from June 1975, and its follow-up, the 3100, have a nameplate in tightly spaced caps from Skin & Bones, a bi-line typeface designed by Douglas F. Jones and released by VGC in circa 1972.

The logo for the 3200 model switches to another variety of Bauhaus-y letterforms [edit: namely Blippo, see the comment by Mark Simonson]. The name is now rendered as “phototypositor”, in all lowercase letters, without space.

“Delicious branding” — the Photo Typositor 3100, found by Tamye Riggs at the Museum of Printing History in North Andover, Mass.
Source: www.flickr.com Tamye Riggs. License: All Rights Reserved.

“Delicious branding” — the Photo Typositor 3100, found by Tamye Riggs at the Museum of Printing History in North Andover, Mass.

The Museum of the Printing Arts in Leipzig is home to a Photo Typositor 3200.
Source: www.druckkunst-museum.de Museum of the Printing Arts Leipzig. License: All Rights Reserved.

The Museum of the Printing Arts in Leipzig is home to a Photo Typositor 3200.

The Photo Typositor 3200 in a magazine ad from 1985. The ad typography is in Korinna.
Source: www.flickr.com Karl-Rainer Blumenthal. License: All Rights Reserved.

The Photo Typositor 3200 in a magazine ad from 1985. The ad typography is in Korinna.

“Typography … at your fingertips!” An earlier version of the Photo Typositor, featuring a logo in custom sans serif caps with an extended ‘T’ bar.
Source: www.1step2.info Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies. License: All Rights Reserved.

“Typography … at your fingertips!” An earlier version of the Photo Typositor, featuring a logo in custom sans serif caps with an extended ‘T’ bar.

Typefaces

  • Skin & Bones
  • Blippo

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18 Comments on “VGC Photo Typositor 3000/3100 and 3200 logos”

  1. This is fascinating—thanks for posting this.

  2. It’s a bit hard to see, but I think the later logo was set in Blippo.

  3. Thanks, Mark! I had checked several of the usual suspects, but must have skipped Blippo. With the characteristic ‘2’ and ‘3’, it indeed looks like a match. This (lighter) Bold weight is not available in digital form, is it?

  4. Adrienne Bucklin says:
    Oct 11th, 2017 10:29 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this. Murray Friedel was my grandfather.  He was also an amazing photographer.

  5. I used to earn my living working on the typo. Magic days

  6. Stan McGaughey says:
    Dec 31st, 2018 3:31 pm

    I was Service Manager for VGC in Chicago from 1969 to 1972 and then in Paramount, Ca. from 1972 to 1974. Their purchase of a huge facility in Tamarac, Florida I believe became their downfall.

  7. I used Typositors, made custom fonts for typositors. I also sold fonts for them. I’ve even set Blippo on them. The first time I saw a Linotype imagesetter setting over 100 pt. sharper than remotely possible on film projection I knew their time was limited.

  8. Jim@Lakewood says:
    Jul 2nd, 2020 11:55 am

    I worked at VGC in 1976 filling and shipping orders from Paramount CA for all you talented people. It was nice to see the old pictures. PS, I am sorry if I ever sent you the wrong font…

  9. Mitch Farrow says:
    Mar 23rd, 2021 10:16 am

    Great to see the old 'typo’ again.

    Worked on that in 1978 in London, home of print in UK.

  10. Harry Sherman says:
    Mar 24th, 2021 10:04 pm

    Back in the 80’s I would set all of the story headlines for Hi-Torque publications like ‘Dirt Bike’ and ‘Motocross’, with the Photo Typositor. It was kinda fun…

  11. I have a photo typositor sitting in a building. Can anyone tell me if it is worth anything.  Who would be interested in it etc.

    thanks, Cari

  12. Paul Kelley says:
    Mar 17th, 2022 9:48 pm

    Does anyone know where I can find a sample book of the PhotoTypositor type styles. I used a PhotoTypositor in the late 1960s and really enjoyed it.

  13. Hi Paul, while VGC catalogs are not exactly rare, it has become increasingly difficult to find one in recent years. If you keep an eye on sellers of used books, you should be able to score one eventually. You’ll want to look for “VGC Alphabet Library”. The catch is that two of these words are pretty generic, and “VGC” is an abbreviation commonly used by antiquarians for “very good condition”.

    There’s currently one catalog for sale on eBay: it’s an abridged showing from 1982, with all the typefaces available in that year. This one-liner only has a list of typefaces names, set in said typeface, and no full glyph sets.

    Stephen shares a few select scanned pages online. See also VGC-related photos on Flickr.

  14. Norman Ewing says:
    Mar 29th, 2022 5:40 pm

    I ran a photo typesetting dept in Johannesburg SA and was able to make 1300 fonts on two inch film. Invited Tom Carnase out to SA when Herb Lubalin declined to run a typography class for art directors of all the big advertising companies…that machine made the company I worked for a fortune…and a very good life for me. Sadly computers changed all that

  15. I used a VGC Photo Typositor for many years and had the privilege of drawing two typefaces for it. My big regret is that I actually had one and like a complete idiot, trashed it. It haunts me to this day.

  16. Hello Anthony, nice to hear from you! Luc Devroye credits you with the design of Padua, for Lettergraphics. Is that one of your two typeface designs? What’s the other one?

  17. Hi Florian, actually the two that I am referring to were actual projects for clients plus I did one in Hebrew as well even though I have no clue about the language. I worked with lots of direction on that one. I digress, Padua was drawn specifically as a Lettergraphics competition entry back in the seventies. I originally called it Emperor but changed the name. I won a $400 runner up prize for it. I often wonder how Paul Bailey is doing now.

  18. Listing 50 years (or so) worth of graphic design items on an ebay store I started just for the purpose selling off as much of the stuff I’ve collected (or just never got rid of). Lots of old type catalogs, Photodiscs, graphic design periodicals, annuals and catalogs. Presently listing the Photo Typositor Antique Type Sampler Vol III catalog and was researching to write a description to go along with the images I took. Was shocked when taking the photos to see the address printed on the back of the catalog was here in Miami was only a few blocks from where I am. Would include an image(s) if there was a way to do so on this site.

  19. I visited Visual Graphics Corp in Florida about 1975 from memory. I was considering the purchase of a Typositor for my studio in Sydney, Australia. Ended up buying a few of them and more later so I always had parts. I had a team of about 10 operators at one time spitting out 2 inch strips. In those days we wore suits to work and I always remember the developer stains on my pants from working on those beasts in the dark. I still have a box of 2 inch film fonts from those days. I once had a job at Lettergraphics in Los Angeles making those fonts and later at Facsimile Phototype, owned by Robert Trogman designer of Blippo. He also sold a similar machine called SpectraSetter, made by Berthold from memory.

  20. Sorry, SpectraSetter was made by PhotoVision of Cal, an offshoot of Lettergraphics. Bob’s machine was called FotoStar for which I designed a logo and the nameplate.

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