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“My Foolish Friend” – Talk Talk

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Mar 3rd, 2019. Artwork published in .
    “My Foolish Friend” – Talk Talk 1
    Source: https://www.flickr.com Scan: Klaus Hiltscher. License: All Rights Reserved.

    The cover painting on this single sleeve is by James Marsh, whose work adorned many of Talk Talk’s releases. I don’t know if he was responsible for the typography, too. The self-titled debut EP from the year before had featured a logo composed from plain sans serif capitals, in contrasting weights and sizes, dynamically arranged in a way that is reminiscent of 1920s constructivism. Some of the letterforms were stretched, a treatment that is echoed throughout Talk Talk’s discography, see e.g. Natural History (1990).

    The type for “My Foolish Friend” is much more straightforward. No stretching, no frills, just one style in all caps. It’s DIN 16, i.e. inclined letterforms for technical drawings, with rounded terminals. Defined by the Standardisation Committee of German Industry in 1919, DIN 16 predates the nowadays better known DIN 1451 by twelve years. Letraset had issued a version for dry-transfer lettering sometime before 1976. I assume this is what was used here, in 1983. Some ten years later –

    Erik Spiekermann noticed that the few available versions of DIN Schriften had become popular with graphic designers because of their “lean, geometric lines,” and he suggested to [Albert-Jan] Pool that he consider reviving and redesigning them. — MoMA

    FF DIN was released in 1995, but it took another another 15 years before Pool completed FF DIN Round, his interpretation and expansion of the inclined DIN 16 and its upright sibling, DIN 17.

    The aforementioned band logo is reproduced on the back, at a small size. The images show the German edition by EMI Electrola. The UK version is largely identical.
    Source: https://www.flickr.com Scan: Klaus Hiltscher. License: All Rights Reserved.

    The aforementioned band logo is reproduced on the back, at a small size. The images show the German edition by EMI Electrola. The UK version is largely identical.

    The aforementioned band logo is reproduced on the back, at a small size. The images show the German edition by EMI Electrola. The UK version is largely identical.
    License: All Rights Reserved.

    A Letraset sheet with DIN 16 m. The English manufacturer also carried the upright DIN 17 m.

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    2 Comments on ““My Foolish Friend” – Talk Talk”

    1. Lars says:
      Mar 4th, 2019  7:29 am

      What does the “m” stand for? Is it mittelshrift? Was there also a Din 16 condensed?

    2. Mar 4th, 2019  7:42 am

      The m with over- and underline stands for Micronorm. Here’s a definition from D. Simmonds, Charts & Graphs. Guidelines for the visual presentation of statistical data, 1980:

      An ISO (International Standards Organization) standard for draftsmen which controls use of letter forms and line thickness when preparing artwork for microfilming.

      (a) Stroke width of lettering is 1/10 of the letter height

      (b) Differences between letter heights are controlled by the proportion of 10:7 which gives a multiplication factor of 1.4. All lettering sizes are determined from a starting point of 10 mm

      (c) Rules apply to line thicknesses and the standard range consists of nine line widths as follows: 0.13, 0.18, 0.25, 0.35, 0.5, 0.7, 1.0, 1.4 and 2.0 mm.

      These 9 line widths were color-coded for easier use (Violet, Red, White, Yellow, Brown, Blue, Orange, Green, Gray), on technical pens like the Rapidograph and elsewhere. The depicted Letraset sheet has “orange” glyphs, i.e. their size is 10 mm, with 1.0 mm line thickness. See also the Wikipedia entry on ISO 216 which mentions the technical drawing line widths specified in ISO 128, and the matching technical pen widths as specified in ISO 9175–1.

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