The Good Life (1975) opening titles
4 Comments on “The Good Life (1975) opening titles”
I’ve handled a DeLittle specimen and Type Library have done a great service reprinting one–they are huge! But magnificently printed. Their specimen book feels thirties but it’s far far newer than it looks–I saw it linked on David Shields’ website dated 1966, and flipped through thinking it must be a mistake (the price list is dated March 1966, but it’s hard to see)…until I got to the page with Helvetica on it. (A lot of the settings do feel older, though, including the calendars with 1940s dates-I checked, they’re correct-can they really have kept these huge formes together for a quarter-century? Or print a batch of specimen sheets and use them for the next two decades? I’d love to know who would know.) The one I saw (c. 1980, I understand) focused on the bicolour types and seemed more of an art object; this specimen is clearly more of a practical item.
Oh, that’s amazing! Admittedly, I didn’t spend too much time trying to date the DeLittle specimen, as it’s largely inconsequential in this context. Some page designs (and faces) look like they’re from the 1890s or 1900s. I realized it must be a lot more recent than that – I spotted Perpetua and Gill AKA Art Sans, but missed Helvetica. My “around 1940” estimate was indeed based on the included calendar dates. When I saw those, I stopped. I couldn’t imagine this specimen to be a post-war edition. 1966? Wow. It’s strikes me as a cumulative catalog. I’d assume that the Fancy precursor is from around the same time as Windsor, plus or minus a decade or so.
Quite so. I’ve since found pictures of a 1928 specimen (price list for 1929 included) which show several matching pages, this one unchanged and this one partially reset. Doesn’t beat the successors to Christoffel van Dijck’s foundry, though, according to Lane, who printed the same standing types as specimens all the way from 1670 to the Enschedé specimen of 1768.
The specimen’s world seems entirely pre-war: no Beatles, no Sputnik, no references to televisions, even, just orchestral concerts at the Winter Gardens. That could be a stylistic choice of keeping a unified set of stock phrases all the types were printed in, though, as the Helvetica page has no contemporary references either, and besides the 1940s calendars there’s nothing totally anachronistic (no charabanc tours, for example, or references to the Empire).
I’m not sure what pre-war DeLittle specimens are in public hands. An Australian museum has one they think dates from before 1938. St. Bride’s has one from 1954, according to the catalogue, as well as a copy of Face Photosetting Specimens of Delittle’s Wood Type.
Face Photosetting Specimens of Delittle’s Wood Type
Mmh … that’s sounds interesting! I need to pay them a visit, once this is over. I noticed that other faces from DeLittle appear in the Face catalog as well. I’ll have a closer look.