Compare and contrast the typography between Britain and America over 25 yrs

rag_doll's picture

well this is my essay,need to compare the typography between these two countries, i chose the period in 1945s--1970s,i have got some stuff about America but i could hardly find anything about Britain in that period.

anybody have any thoughts? cheers!

P.S:the deadline is this Friday,i think im gonna DIE!!!

Si_Daniels's picture

I'd say your best bet would be to give Dave Farey a call.

Cheers, Si

bieler's picture


Interesting period. Transition from letterpress to photofilm/offset. Certain to have an influence on typography, yes?

So, historically, what were these two different countries up to at this period of time?

The US was geared up after the war. Manufacturers flush with money, world resources open and under control without trade restrictions, future quite bright, and lots of junk to sell. Appropriation of typefaces for corporate propaganda... from European emigres whose faces were used to sell ideologies.

What the hell was Britain doing? Rebuilding. Clinging proudly to its past hurrah and its heritage. Watching the US take center stage. Hiring the most prominent European emigre typographer to redesign books in the traditional manner.

How do political, economical, social, cultural, technological events effect typography? A bit. And what I've only touched on is the immediate postwar years. Bit of huge topic you have there.


rag_doll's picture

ummmm.....i know its a silly question..but when did the postwar take place? cheers..>_<

bieler's picture


There I go again. I'm always assuming graphic designers have a knowledge of history. I'll take this as a serious question.

In the context of your proposal, the cessation of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War was in 1945. Reconstruction and rebuilding for the new era would easily extend a decade following. The two most significant cultural/social/economic/political etc events that would significantly alter the landscape after this were

in the US: the election and assassination of Kennedy and the Vietnam War

in Britain: the Beatles

Technologically, significant occurances were the emergence of visual media and the growth in advertising and packaging design (over previous concerns for the book) and the complete switch over from letterpress to offset printing processes, from metal type to filmoffset....

Design styles would seem to pattern these sorts of changes.

That will take you to 1975

timd's picture

From 45 to 70 you could map the history of US & UK in stencil faces

vincent_connare's picture

My favourite thing was at Microsoft CVs use to come in from US universities in Frutiger.. The English universities they were mostly in Syntax.

Miss Tiffany's picture

One suggestion might be to research the work of Ken Garland. He has a book, "A Word In Your Eye" that covers some of your time period. Perhaps you could also find use for Michael Twyman's book "Printing 1770-1970". Both books have bibliographies, you could use those as well. Bibliographies are the researchers friend.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Almost forgot. What about Alan Fletcher's work? Seems that would be a good look too.

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