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Classified ads for drugs, prophylactics, and birth control literature

Contributed by Stephen Coles on Apr 16th, 2014. Artwork published in .
    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    Spartan, a Futura follower, was frequently used in U.S. newspapers throughout the 1940s–60s. A 5.5pt size of the metal type was specially designed for space efficiency, with wider forms, a large x-height, and retracted descenders that fit in as much type as possible on the classified ad pages. The only digital version of Spartan is this Classified variant.

    It’s not clear if these 1962 ads used the special Classified style, so I’ve tagged both typefaces.

    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.


    • Spartan




    4 Comments on “Classified ads for drugs, prophylactics, and birth control literature”

    1. Apr 17th, 2014  10:15 am

      If the digitization of Spartan Classified is faithful to the original, this the regular cut. In Classified, the ‘o’ is narrower, the ‘R’ wider and the ‘i’ dots oblate, among other things.

    2. Nick Sherman says:
      Apr 17th, 2014  3:27 pm

      But then look at that p …

    3. Apr 17th, 2014  6:59 pm

      Yeah, the raised ‘p/g’ bowls and tiny descenders are what threw me. But Florian is right that too many of the Classified shapes don’t fit. This is likely just the standard style at a very small size. The smallest showing I know is this 6pt Linotype specimen (note the alt ‘a’ is used for this sample).

    4. Apr 17th, 2014  7:31 pm

      Here’s a better look. Spartan Medium at 8 and 6pt, as shown in Type, David Gates, 1973. Descenders are short, but the ‘q’ bowl (‘g’ and ‘p’ not shown) is not raised. 

      Spartan Medium, 6 and 8 pt

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