Monday, November 30, 2020

Typography: Ben Rosen, 1920–2020

Information from

Benjamin “Ben” Rosen was born on October 20, 1920, in Detroit, Michigan. In the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Ben was the youngest of three children born to Jacob and Lena, both Russian emigrants. The family resided at 7619 Byron Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. On February 16, 1942, Ben signed his World War II draft card. He lived at 404 Washington Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. Ben was a freelance artist at 250 East 43 Street, room 2007, in Manhattan. He enlisted in the Army on August 14, 1942. On January 23. 1947, he obtained a marriage license in Manhattan. His spouse was Jane E. Beebe. The New York Times, November 22, 2020, published a death notice.
Ben Rosen died on September 7, with family by his side, just missing his 100th birthday by a few weeks. A visual communications consultant and graphic designer, he was best known as author of two classic graphic design reference books, Type & Typography: The Designer’s Type Book, and The Corporate Search for Visual Identity. His graphic design work was part of the post World War II period of explosive growth in creative graphic design in the U.S. In 2005, Mr. Rosen’s surviving work and papers were acquired by the Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising and Marketing History, a department of the Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collections Library of Duke University. Born and raised in Detroit, he attended Cass Technical High School and Cranbrook Academy. In 1940, he came to New York to attend Pratt Institute. During World War II he was classified as Aerial Motion Picture Photographer assigned to the 8th Air Force, 14th Photo Reconnaissance unit based at Mount Farm Airfield, then at Chalgrove Airfield, both in Oxfordshire, England. Returning to New York in 1946, Mr. Rosen began his graphic design career, opening shop as Ben Rosen Associates in 1948. He accumulated recognition and awards from the Art Directors Club, The AIGA, Package Design Council and a variety of trade publications. His client roster came to include Exxon, The Equitable Life Assurance Co., Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Tishman Realty & Construction Company, Standard Brands International, Philip Morris Inc., The United Nations Association, CCMI/McGraw Hill, and Richardson Vicks. When his book, Type and Typography was first published in 1963, hot metal type was the norm. The type foundries that produced it rarely published full fonts with their promotional material for fear their designs would be copied by competing foundries. Mr. Rosen convinced foundries from around the world to make available to him a broad spectrum of complete fonts. He selected the best versions to include in the book, accompanied by related design and historic information. Known among graphic design students as “the Bible”, the book remained in print for over 30 years, with later versions including digital type. His 1970 book, The Corporate Search of Visual Identity addressed the relatively new discipline of corporate visual identification, describing the process from both the designer and corporate viewpoints. By showing some 16 outstanding visual identification programs in detail, he presented designers and corporate personnel insights into the best work done in that field. In 1975, Mr. Rosen relocated his studio from New York to his residence in Hohokus, New Jersey. Gradually moving toward retirement, he spent some 10 years as an active member of the Art Advisory Committee of Bergen Community College. Mr. Rosen moved to The Woodlands, Texas after his wife Jane died in 2012. He is survived by his daughter Laura and her husband Adrian, his son Ralph and his wife Mary, his grandson David, granddaughter Sarah and her husband Mike, and great grandsons Henry and Jack.
Type and Typography
Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 1963
selected pages



















(Next post on Monday: Bone Man)

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving

The Brown Book of Boston
November 1901
“Song of Thanksgiving” by J. Franklin Booth

(Next post on Monday: Ben Rosen, 1920–2020)

Monday, November 23, 2020

Alphabets: The New Yorker Advertisements

1985 advertisements by the Lord, Geller, Federico, Einstein agency
New York Magazine, June 8, 1987
… Dissatisfied with the work of its advertising agency, Ted Bates, the 

magazine has gone back to its old agency, Lord, Geller, Federico, Einstein. 
It, in turn, is bringing back the old advertising line “The New Yorker, yes, 
The New Yorker.” …

1993 advertisement with new fonts in the style of The New Yorker alphabet

Lewis Allen’s wood-cut alphabet for his book, Journeys To Bagdad (1915), 
was the source for Rea Irvin’s 1925 alphabet for The New Yorker magazine.

(Next post on Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving)

Monday, November 16, 2020

The Origin of a Species: Eustace Tilley

Life, July 8, 1915

The New Yorker, February 21, 1925
cover art by Rea Irvin who also contributed to Life

Further Reading and Viewing
Alfred d’Orsay, the model for Eustace Tilley

(Next post on Monday: The New Yorker Advertisements)

Monday, October 26, 2020

Comics: Bob Leatherbarrow, Artist. Letterer, Art Director and Photographer

Robert Anthony “Bob” Leatherhbarrow was born on November 23, 1916, in New Bedford, Massachusetts, according to his World War II draft card.

The 1917 New Bedford and Fairhaven city directory said Leatherbarrow’s father, Robert, was a weaver who resided at 392 Bowditch.

The Leatherbarrow family’s address in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census was 4125 Acushnet Avenue in New Bedford. Leatherbarrow was the youngest of four siblings. Their parents were English emigrants; the father arrived in 1910, and mother, Mary, in 1907.

The 1923 New Bedford and Fairhaven city directory listed the Leatherbarrow address as Crescent near Acushnet Avenue.

In 1925 Leatherbarrow’s mother passed away in New Bedford according to the Massachusetts death index at

Leatherbarrow, his father and three siblings lived in New Bedford at 272 Nash Road as recorded in the 1930 census. Presumably Leatherbarrow attended the public schools. Information about his art training has not been found. The family address was the same in the 1940 census.

On May 18, 1942 Leatherbarrow married Mary Jane Abbott in Fairhaven.

Leatherbarrow signed his World War II draft card on October 16, 1940. At the time his address was 272 Nash Road. The address changed to 78 Lafayette Street on June 26, 1944, as written on the draft card. His description was five feet ten inches, 135 pounds with gray eyes and blind hair. It’s not known if he served during the war.

Leatherbarrow and his wife were listed in the 1947 and 1949 Fairhaven city directories at 51 Walnut Street.

Leatherbarrow’s father passed away March 18, 1950.

At some point Leatherbarrow moved to Connecticut.

A profile of Ray Burns, at Lambiek Comiclopedia, said

… he was hired by Alex Raymond to do the lettering of the new daily detective strip 'Rip Kirby' for King Features Syndicate. He was quickly also tasked to do some additional background art. Burns worked with Raymond until Raymond's death in 1956 with the exception of a seventeen month interlude in 1950–1951. During this period he was called back to the Navy to fight in the Korean War, while Bob Leatherbarrow took his place in Raymond's studio.
Raymond gave a Rip Kirby strip, dated August 10, 1950, to Leatherbarrow.

The Boston Globe, January 12, 1951, reported an exhibition of ship paintings and mentioned Leatherbarrow was a resident of Fairhaven.

According to the 1952 Wilton, Connecticut directory, Leatherbarrow resided on Farrier’s Lane and worked as a commercial artist in Stamford.

The next available directory, dated 1957, said he was a layout man in New York City and resided on Danbury Road.

Wilton directories from 1958 to 1961 listed Leatherbarrow’s address as Farrier’s Lane. He was an art director in New York City.

The 1963 directory listing had his address as 47 Freshwater Lane and occupation as art production in New York City.

The 1971 and 1976 Norwalk, Connecticut, directories said Leatherbarrow was a photographer at Dauntless Publications in New York City. He lived at 11 Bedford Avenue North.

Leatherbarrow passed away on July 27, 1978, in New York City. A death notice appeared in The New York Times, July 29, 1978.

Leatherbarrow—Robert A., died July 27th in New York City after a short illness. Services will be private. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Childrens Aid Society, 105 E. 22 St, New York, N.Y.

(Next post on Monday: Stone Cut Lettering Inscription at Harvard University)