Typical 20th century typefaces?
October 11, 2011 7:24 PM   Subscribe

Show me some typical 20th century typefaces! Ones that were used then, not strictly ones that were designed then. Preferred period: 1930-1995 (approximately).

I'll take names, pictures of type that you don't know the name of, or even just sources of potential inspiration or background research.

Typefaces like what I'm thinking of, to give you an idea of what I'm looking for:

Souvenir (the one that kicked this question off in my mind)
Cooper Black
Gill Sans
Pistilli Roman
Helvetica (of course)

I'm especially interested in the sorts of things that would have been used in smaller-scale or cheaper publications, like the kind of thing that would have been available in a Letraset kit. But everything else, too.
posted by bubukaba to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Impact
Avant Garde
posted by Chairboy at 7:48 PM on October 11, 2011

What exactly are you trying to get out of this? I mean, in terms of context, Futura was everywhere at one time in the US, with one major connotation-- authority. The military used it, it was the main signage used at government institutions (even mid-century-built schools), etc. I remember that Morrison's cafeterias (a relatively short-lived mid-20th century southeastern thing) used them for inventory forms.

Alternately, by about 1993, I remember typography 'coming to life' in terms of smooth scrolling or zooming in TV commercials (I suspect as a variation on morphing technology), and that's about the time I first saw Copperplate (connotation: classy).
posted by kimota at 8:02 PM on October 11, 2011

"Them" = Futura. Sorry.
posted by kimota at 8:04 PM on October 11, 2011

Response by poster: kimota: Partly general interest (the Souvenir thing was just driving me crazy until I figured it out, and I was interested in other typefaces that I might associate with the same aesthetic).

But I also do some design work for my organization - handbills, program notes, and posters - that I like to try to give a vintage-y feeling too. (We show movies, mostly ones from the 1930s-1970s).
posted by bubukaba at 8:11 PM on October 11, 2011

Best answer: Windsor elongated.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:49 PM on October 11, 2011

Best answer: New Century Schoolbook was actually used in several of my elementary school textbooks. No joke.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:03 PM on October 11, 2011

Best answer: Stencil
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 9:19 PM on October 11, 2011

Response by poster: OMG! Souvenir is totally what the copyright and subscription info page of the pamphlet this FPP is about is set in! Anyone know what the names of the other typefaces used in the pamphlet are? Is that just Helvetica in the main body? I always have trouble telling on sight...
posted by bubukaba at 11:39 PM on October 11, 2011

Best answer: Bell Gothic
AKA, That typeface they used in the phone book.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:16 AM on October 12, 2011

Best answer: These were made more recently, but a lot of Letterhead Fonts typefaces likely fit in with the style you're referring to.

As for other classics, maybe ITC Cheltenham, Clarendon, Copperplate and Franklin Gothic.
posted by teriyaki_tornado at 8:37 AM on October 12, 2011

Best answer: Comic sans. It came with Windows 95, and quickly became popular for writing café menus, "missing cat" posters, invitations to PTA meetings - and for this.
posted by iviken at 10:39 AM on October 12, 2011

Best answer: From the Growing Up Gay pamphlet:

Serif Gothic Extra Bold

(Identified by Eyehawk and Akira1975 over at the What the Font Forums.)
posted by ocherdraco at 6:55 PM on October 12, 2011

Best answer: Optima
Times New Roman was popular for typesetting newspapers because the letters are narrow.
Courier. Everyone had a typewriter.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 7:02 PM on October 12, 2011

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