About herb lubalin

rag_doll's picture

i need help!!

im doing an essay of Design in a National Context which is about compare and contrast the approaches to furniture design or graphic design over 25 years in two countries.

i chose Britain and America, i chose the advertisement in 1968 from herb lubalin,anyone knows about this typography poster? i need make some comment on this poster but i don't know what to say, its relevant with Avant Garde

thx loadsadvertisement 1968

Nick Shinn's picture

Lubalin was an anti-establishment activist, pro-sex (EROS magazine), anti-war.
His counterparts in the UK signed the original First Things First manifesto, in 1964.
Gerald Holtom was a WW2 conscientious objector who designed the CND logo (peace symbol) in the late 50s
The "tight but not touching" style of display typography was a phenomenon on both sides of the pond in the 60s; Lubalin was its main main in the US. In the UK, not so readily identified with one person.
But it was also about the "gridularity" of the layout, and you can see that in the design and layout of FTF v.1

rag_doll's picture

any comments on this one?

giam's picture

Lynn -- By all means do a googlesearch on the work of Judy Kensley McKie, who is one of the best furniture designers and artisans the USA has ever produced. As for Lubalin his work was overly promoted in the design and typophile press, some of which was very good and some -- such as this example -- well, not so good. As for Nick's "tight but not touching," we used to call examples of it "kiss fit" and joked that it came about because so many immigrants in New York, to whom English was a foreign language, were the ones composing copy on Staromats in subterranean darkrooms.

mr_mr's picture

Paul, as far as the "touchy touchy

giam's picture

Mark -- It's a judgment, not a rule book call. Personally, I find it -- for want of a better term -- a five-minute solution: stack a lot of type and don't try to work out an image beyond that. You don't get better copy than No More War and I think it deserves more than old wood type reminiscent of the Civil War, not Vietnam. Graphic design is not arithmetic where 2 + 2 always equals 4. That's why we can have fun challenging solutions and learn at the same time. Good luck with your studies.

Nick Shinn's picture

I must disagree Paul: What's interesting about this old wood type is the way that Lubalin has taken the hairline space that appears between serifs within letters -- most obviously the W of War -- and repeated it between letters, and vertically between lines. So this layout has some substance.

(This is a feature that we find today in Font Bureau's Giza, and House Gothic, and these fonts are designed with the appropriate sidebars to make the effect.)

Secondly, this is a poster for an Avant Garde magazine competition, and its branding is spot on, as it is designed in the "Ultimate Lubalin" packed and stacked style of that magazine.

Thirdly, this is an ad for a competition for anti-war posters, so Lubalin has wisely chosen not to make it an anti-war poster -- by confining himself to typography he has left the field of image and concept open to entrants' imaginations.

Come on Lynn, put your thinking cap on, get your magnifying glass out, and tell us what your observations and opinions are -- don't let the old guys do all your work for you!

Alexander Tochilovsky's picture

I also have to disagree with you Paul. The design in question is far from being a "five-minute solution" (even if it did take Herb five minutes). There is a lot more substance to the poster that what meets the eye. Firstly the ad/poster should be viewed in color, to fully appreciate it.


The layout is mimicking the American flag, with a black exclamation point at the end. For all its subtlety it is a very strong message.

I agree with Nick that this was entirely in keeping with the Avant Garde magazine style, but I also think that the concept is present. Purely by emphasising the title of the competition, and by using the flag as the reference point Lubalin cleverly turned a call-for-entries poster into an anti-war poster.

For more on Herb Lubalin read Steven Heller's great article.

gln's picture

There is an excellent 184 page book on Herb Lubalin and his work. I have the 1985 paperback edition which which was the third printing at that time.
The book is titled....Herb Lubalin-Art Director,Graphic Designer and Typographer by Gertrude Snyder and Alan Peckolick.

The last three columns are the rules of the contest with the deadline for submission being 5:00 p.m., Monday May 27, 1968.


Hildebrant's picture

Alexander: The color really clarifies things, thanks.

giam's picture

It looks better in color, but what does our flag have to do with No More War? And why display type reminiscent of the early and mid-19th century? As I said, it's a judgment call. I think it needs a stronger image. A faux flag does not say No More War to me. On the contrary.

rag_doll's picture

and guys how about Alan Fletcher's work??

anyones familiar with his work which is the poster of book marketing council?

i can hardly find any information about this graphic designer,i have to compare a piece of work of Fletcher's to Lubalin's
Alan Fletcher-book marketing coucil poster

bogdan's picture

Can anyone help me come up with some type-images such as Herb Lubalin's Mother & Child? I am looking for any examples of designs where the word is illustrated with type.

rag_doll's picture

i need some comments on the book marketing council one....

i think the typefaces are very casual and look like hand draw...

any more? cheers..>_<

rag_doll's picture

oh sorry,its the work that Alan Fletcher did,its a poster for the book marketing council

rag_doll's picture

tiffany,i cant find those two books u mentioned earlier,but i think i can find "a smile in the mind"

yea ive heard of the beware wet paint,but seems the book is about Flectcher's collection of other ppl's work.

Miss Tiffany's picture

I can think of two books that would give you a good start on research Alan Fletcher.

Miss Tiffany's picture

ROrsini -- Go down to the local library and see if you can't find "Herb Lubalin: Art Director, Graphic Designer and Typographer
by Gertrude G. Snyder" ... this should help you find those images. You might also see if your library has past issues of U&lc, this magazine had images of his work on and off over the years. I can't think of the search engine, but at your library as well there should be a way to search periodicals. Look for PRINT, GRAPHIS, U&lc, Communication Arts ... that should help.

Lynn -- I'm sorry can you rephrase that last question. What "book marketing council one"?

Miss Tiffany's picture

Lynn did you look into those two books I listed above?

The Art of Looking Sideways was written by Alan Fletcher and features his work.

A Smile in the Mind also feature some of Alan Fletcher work.

Probably the best place to start would be Beware Wet Paint. This book is all about Fletcher's work.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Lynn --

Are you sure? It is at home, but I'm pretty sure that 'Beware Wet Paint' covers only Fletcher's work.

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