Typeface used in Life magazine?

thepegu's picture

Hi everyone,
I have been going nuts trying to find out what typeface was used in Life magazine. Both in its avatar between 1883 and 1936 and later on from 1936 to 2007. Trade Gothic looks close for the logo but it came about in 1948- while the red-white logo came about in 1936. So am very confused!
Also, would like to know what did they use for the text inside? Pre-1936, it looks like some serif type while the more contemporary issues seem to have a sans-serif font.
Does anyone have a issue of the Life maagazine from 2005-07? I have never seen one and was wondering what the layout is like.

Thanks for you help guys- I hope you can crack this in time!

Florian Hardwig's picture

Hi Anuranjan,

please run a search first.
Then, logos or nameplates (I guess that is what you call an avatar) often are customly designed, and especially in pre-digital time there hasn’t necessarily have to be a font.

For the body text – do you have a sample? Are you lookng for something special? I guess they have used some faces over the years.

Stephen Coles's picture

Wow. I have never heard "avatar" used in this context. Fun!

Florian Hardwig's picture

You can browse through all the LIFE covers with the ingenious Cover Browser.

thepegu's picture

Thanks guys- you are superb! And fast!
I had seen those forums but on searching, I could never find it again!
However, it is the following logos and text I wanted to ask about- they are from late 1800s and early 1900s. This is the earlier version of Life when it was illustration based and this logo is the older "avatar"! I use avatar a lot mainly because it is a multi faceted Indian word and I am from India originally! ;)

Any ideas if the logo was hand drawn or set in type? The text is some serif based typeface- caslon?

thepegu's picture

oh, sorry for the quality of the images- I took it off from a microfilm so thats why it is crappy- and I did not resize it any further as it was getting heavily pixelated.

Mark Simonson's picture

The text face in the first sample is what was generically called "old style". Most foundries had some version of this (sort of like Times Roman nowadays). There are some digital versions of this style: Binny Old Style, Monotype Old Style, and Linotype Old Style No. 7.

"HIGHBROW NUMBER" appears to be an old ATF face called Post Oldstyle No. 2. I don't know of a digital version. The price and date text on the right side is Cheltenham Old Style.

The logo is definitely custom-drawn. This was very common back then due to the fact that metal typefaces were very limited in terms of available size and styles.

thepegu's picture

Thanks Mark. Thats a great help.
Any idea where I can see a layout of the sunday life magazine that was published till earlier this year? I need to see what kind of a grid they used for the layout- unfortunately, I haven't seen any of these versions.

Mark Simonson's picture

Wow, I don't know where you might find those. Earlier issues, from when it was a regular magazine, would probably be available at libraries in the U.S. The Sunday newspaper supplement incarnation has probably all ended up in recycling bins.

Mike F's picture

See Nick Curtis's Saturday Morning Toast for something quite similar to 'HIGHBROW NUMBER' (based upon the Saturday Evening Post's logotype from the 20's).

Syndicate content Syndicate content