Wednesday, September 2, 2009

GDS 110 - Poster Copy for ITC Benguiat

Here's the copy I wrote for my poster...I'll probably need to shorten it and I'm not sure how to handle the citations -- I'd really like to include the quotes but I imagine I have to somehow cite the sources -- not good for poster format. This font was a hard one to research because no one seems to use it or like it much these days. Given all the other more popular typefaces he's designed, I'm not sure why ITC keeps it as a classic.

Edward Benguiat is an icon of typography. The Brooklynite, who describes himself as a jazz percussionist first, likens design and typography to music in terms of balance, rhythm and the task of creating a pleasing order. Benguiat has been a cleavage retoucher, a successful musician, an ITC co-founder, and a prolific typeface designer. He has created more than 600 typefaces and highly recognized typographic designs. His accomplishments include logotypes for the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and Reader's Digest. He also designed movie titles for Super Fly and Planet of the Apes. Benguiat describes his typefaces as his children. Despite his refusal to choose favorites, it may be safe to say that ITC Benguiat is not his golden child.

Released in 1977, ITC Benguiat was initiated as a favor to a friend who needed signage for his storefront. Benguiat went through dozens of iterations before coming to the final typeface, submitting three versions before the ITC Board agreed to market it. Referencing the Art Nouveau movement of the late 1800's, ITC Benguiat reflects the "sudden violent curves generated by the crack of a whip" typical of the period. More recently, the typeface seems to have been demoted from classic to cliche. Contemporary designers have described the font as "horrible...for its Art Nouveau pretensions" and "a distinctive 1970's pariah." We can say that while ITC Benguiat is not the designer's most brilliant child, it has certainly survived against the odds.

1 comment:

  1. I'm just starting to appreciate ITC Benguiat for what it was intended for.
    ITC Benguiat has at last become a staple in the typographic community and over the years has the design has withstood the test of time over all other new designs.
    It makes the reader feel just plain comfortable because of its warm and friendly shapes within the structure of the letterforms. I've also noticed how much Ed's work has influenced other designers. But they just seem to miss the boat... Good luck.