Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Poetry of Typography

My sister Sarah (sounds like the name of a rock band), who is a Graphic Designer, sent me a link to the Poetry Foundation which has some really great photos of type treatments.  These photos led me to Poetry in the Landscape a flickr page which contains photos of the projected word poetry. Like this

and this

From there, I clicked on over to the Winterhouse flickr page. Winterhouse looks like an interesting organization with very relevant links to socially responsible and forward looking design as well as other great organizations, publications, etc. 

Their flickr page has images of Poetry magazine covers. I was captivated by these covers. The artwork conveys various moods across issues -- some calm (these are the ones that draw me the most)

and some energetic.

To my eye, Winterhouse has designed a beautifully poetic layout. The cover is culled down to essentials. As with poetry, the elements on the page seem to be chosen carefully with plentiful white space to "hold" the components. Picture a poem on the page. 

Because I was trolling for possible typography posts, I especially noticed the masthead and thought it was a perfect match for the magazine.  I tried to identify the font (so that I could dutifully name it in my post) and was able to almost get it except that I couldn't find an R that looked like the one in the masthead. So...being the brash, pushy woman I am, I just emailed the magazine and asked what font it was. 

I was surprised to very promptly receive an email from none other than Fred Sasaki, an Associate Editor of Poetry.  Here's the info he generously provided (links are mine):

The Poetry logo font is Gill Sans (however you'll see that the "R" is modified for the cover). Interior text is Pietro, which is a modified Bembo.
Interestingly, the Pegasus we are currently using (which the magazine used back in the forties or so) is an Eric Gill design, the typographer who created Gill Sans and contributed a great deal to modern typography.
I felt rather proud of myself for noting that the R was unique. What is really confusing me is that when I looked up the Pegasus font he notes in his email, features it as a free font but it's an exact replica of ITC Benguiat of which I made the poster for class

At any rate, this is some of what we're learning in class come to life! 

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