Why We Can’t Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr. (Harper & Row)
1 Comment on “Why We Can’t Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr. (Harper & Row)”
Thank you for your contribution, Benjamin. It’s a striking design.
I’m not sold on the Compacta ID. Letraset released Compacta in 1963, so it was already around at the time. Also, it came in a number of weights. Here’s a comparison that shows the words of the book title, arranged on one horizontal line. Below, resettings in Compacta Light BT (line 2), Compacta Roman BT (line 3), and Adobe’s Compacta Bold (line 4), each with tightened tracking and horizontally stretching. Even when ignoring details that may be unique to the respective digitizations, like the apostrophe, but also the exact size/depth of the notches, there are a couple of things that don’t match: the width of the bottom vertices in W, the width/aperture of H, the width of E, the size of the counter and the curvature of C, the width of N and, maybe most noticeable, the weight of its diagonal (absolute, and relative to the verticals).
I checked the usual suspects in Photo-Lettering’s 1971 catalog. While there are a couple of similar designs, I didn’t find one that is a match in all details.
Bauer’s Folio Bold Extra Condensed (or Folio eng) was released in 1964 and would, with some stretching, come close, too. Again, its N has a much lighter diagonal, though.
Unfortunately I can’t offer a better solution at this time. It might be lettering loosely based on Compacta. I’ve added the “uncertain typeface ID” tag.
A digitization of this edition is available at the Internet Archive. There’s also Signet’s paperback edition from 1964 which reuses the cover typography in a more conventional (and boring) arrangement.