Brotherly Love – “Public Enemy No. 1” / “Here Stands A Better Man” Portuguese single sleeve
3 Comments on “Brotherly Love – “Public Enemy No. 1” / “Here Stands A Better Man” Portuguese single sleeve”
The compact grotesque used for “Public Enemy No. 1” indeed looks a lot like Letraset’s Compacta. In light of Gráficos Reunidos’ predilection for Mecanorma, it’s probably their competing product British Inserat. This face originated at Photo-Lettering, Inc. in New York sometime between 1965 and 1971, made to offer this fashionable style to their local phototype customers. British Inserat is virtually identical to Compacta (1963). Its name echoes the benchmarks: British like Compacta, Inserat like in the Swiss/German compact sans serifs like Helvetica Inserat or Inserat-Grotesk schmal / Aurora-Grotesk VIII. It was then licensed by the French manufacturer of rub-down lettering sheets who distributed it internationally. By licensing the design from PLINC, Mecanorma managed to indirectly obtain a copy of the popular Compacta, and maintain a veneer of ethical conduct
Very interesting, Florian! Had no idea British Inserat had started out at PLINC.
British Inserat is shown in Photo-Lettering’s One Line (1971) in a single “Cond 9” style, labeled as “typeface or equivalent, non-exclusive”, indicating that it’s indeed an adaptation of something existing, i.e. Letraset Compacta. Apparently PLINC couldn’t or didn’t want to obtain the rights to the Compacta name.
Mecanorma’s 1973 catalog shows British Inserat in three widths plus an Outline style. Later catalogs explicitly mention Photo-Lettering, Inc. as the source. Interestingly, there is no such credit for Contest, their copy of PLINC Davison Psyche.