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Slaughterhouse Five, first edition

Contributed by Nick Sherman on Aug 20th, 2012. Artwork published in .
    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    Iconic first edition cover, designed by Paul Bacon, for Kurt Vonnegut’s seminal novel, Slaughterhouse Five.

    The serif face on the cover – Century Bold Condensed – has been revived in digital format as Century FB Bold Condensed from Font Bureau. The other narrow sans serif, however, is a bit trickier. It follows a long line of related sans serifs from various European letterpress foundries, all with different names and no digitizations worth mentioning that have the same forms as shown on this cover. The closest contemporary fonts are things like Bitstream’s Aurora and Canada Type’s Wagner Grotesk, both of which have curved diagonal strokes.

    Note that the title’s second S, set on a curve, seems to have been placed upside down – perhaps intentionally, to counteract the extra white space that results from fanning letters out in this way.

    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.
    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    Bacon’s iconic book jacket has been made into posters and t-shirts.


    • Century Condensed
    • Neue Aurora




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