September 23, 2007

*Bahw-tchika-WAhow* typography

"When I hear ‘The 70’s’, I reach for my gun…"

I picked up a 1974 Car & Driver at a vintage goods store a few years ago, and after thumbing through the pages, I wanted to put my head in an oven.  Honestly, I have to thank my parents for letting me miss most of that godforsaken decade, beset as it was by Bookman Swash, brownness, and gas shortages.

Ah, but maybe things weren’t quite that bad.  Gene Gable presents a tour of 70’s typography*, showing the ways that evolving technology enabled new type treatments.  Check out part 2 for more horrific excellence.

In the vein of type treatments that cry out for a greasy bass line (or maybe an acid rock riff), peep these others I’ve stumbled across:

* Hey, is that the Photoshop family logo? >;-)

Posted by John Nack at 5:31 PM on September 23, 2007


  • thorsten wulff — 6:27 PM on September 23, 2007

    Ahh, I love the smell of Letraset in the morning…

  • Mark Thomas — 5:35 AM on September 24, 2007

    Long live Bookman Swash!

  • — 11:10 AM on September 24, 2007

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  • Blue Buffalo — 5:04 PM on September 25, 2007

    Thanks for the stroll through the groovy typography. It’s funny how you can know an era by the typography that came from it.
    Also, great job on spelling the guitar lick (Bahw-tchika-WAhow). I had to look at that twice before I got it, but I couldn’t have done a better job.
    [Heh–thanks. –J.]
    By the way, why did you buy a 1974 Car & Driver magazine?
    [I guess I was just floored by the extreme sh*ttiness of it all–the cars, the clothes, the ads, and what must have been the whole vibe in the country at the time. Can you imagine trying to write a car magazine during/after a gas crunch, when environmental regulations had totally emasculated nearly every ride?
    The particular fascination for me was a cigarette ad featuring a particularly rugged bastard smoking in neck-deep water. The cigarette was noticably fake–superimposed via some ancestor-process to Photoshop. I couldn’t believe that such a crappy-looking image would make anyone say, “Hey, I want to be like *that* guy!” It would make me say, “Wake me up in 1987.” –J.]

  • Patrick — 2:37 PM on September 28, 2007

    Oh man. Awesome round-up! I survived the 70’s but like many things, didn’t realize how headache-inducing the designs were until years later.
    Here’s one for you, a JC Penney’s catalog sample from 1975:
    Superfly fashions and hookahs, oh dear…

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