Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Under Cover: Harlan Ellison


The Baronet Uniform Library of Harlan Ellison's Works was a mass-market paperback series to be published in Spring 1980 by Baronet Publishing under its Baronet Books imprint. Baronet was the original publisher of Will Eisner’s A Contract with God, and the Byron Preiss produced books, The Illustrated Roger Zelazny, The Illustrated Harlan Ellison and Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination. Cover dummies were made of the first two volumes, The Glass Teat and Paingod and Other Delusions. The fonts ITC Machine and Helvetica Black were used on the dummies. 


I was the designer of the Ellison series. The publisher was Norman Goldfind, who was, at one time, the publisher at Pyramid Books, which published eleven Ellison books in a uniform series designed and illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. The Baronet edition would reuse the Dillons artwork. If you see the Paingod original art hanging on someone’s wall, please call the FBI because it was stolen from the Baronet office.

I hand-lettered “Harlan Ellison” in a stylized script. I don’t have the sketches but you can see the some of the penciling on the bristol board. At the inking stage, the outline of the letters and shadows were the same weight. I stopped, looked at the outline and thought the weight should be different. I considered painting over the shadow outline but the surface would be uneven and might affect the inking. So, I decided to start over. All of the inking was done with Rapidograph pens and an assortment of ellipse templates, a French curve and a flexible curve. White gouache was used for corrections.



The ITC Benguiat font family was used on the cover and spine. For the front cover title I used Fat Face. The pricing information was set in the Futura Condensed family.



Baronet went out of business before the books were published. Harlan Jay Ellison was born May 27, 1934.


Update: Harlan Ellison announced, on Art Deco Dining Pavilion, that Leo Dillon passed away on Saturday, May 26.

(New post on Monday: Central Substation)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Street Scene: R2-D2 Mailbox


N E W Y O R K C I T Y
The corner of Bayard Street at Mott Street
in Manhattan Chinatown, May 2007.


Star Wars, Episode IV premiered May 25, 1977.

(Next post on Sunday: Harlan Ellison)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Creators: Amy Chu and Sammy Ita


Two highlights of the MoCCA Fest 2012
(location of the Armory Show 1913)


Writer / Letterer


Author / Artist / Paper Engineer


(Next post on Friday: R2-D2)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Typography: The Stat Store


In the years before the desktop computer, graphic design used a variety of photographic products such as photostats, veloxes, color photostats, etc. which were used for reproduction, paste-ups, comprehensives, etc. The Stat Store was one of the providers of such products.

Back in the early 1980s, when I shared a business studio, with Ralph Reese, Joe Barney, Joe D'Esposito and Mary LeCleir, at 6 West 20th Street in Manhattan, the Stat Store was across the street. As far as I know, it was the only one of its kind to sell ice cream during the summer months. As more advertising agencies moved into the neighborhood, the Stat Store moved to 148 Fifth Avenue. Tibor Kalman’s M&Co. was hired to create a new logo and the usual assortment of business cards, price lists and other printed matter. (The original logo can be viewed here.)

The first price lists featured Andy Warhol, whom Kalman, at an AIGA event many years ago, said was an expensive model. There were two separate cards: one price list for black-and-white products and one for color products. A few years later, the prices were revised and the lists featured the Checker taxi.

As desktop publishing flourished, the demand for products from the Stat Store, and others like it, diminished and they gradually went out of business.


Each card measures 8.5 inches / 21.6 centimeters square.


Each card measures 7 by 11 inches / 17.8 by 28 centimeters.


(Next post on Monday)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Lettering: Ault & Wiborg Inks


American Bookmaker, September 1892

American Bookmaker, November 1892

The Inland Printer, August 1897

Printer & Bookmaker, May 1898

Printer & Bookmaker, June 1898

Printer & Bookmaker, July 1898

Printer & Bookmaker, August 1898

Printer & Bookmaker, September 1898

The Inland Printer, October 1898

The Inland Printer, November 1898

Printer & Bookmaker, December 1898

The Inland Printer, January 1899

The Inland Printer, February 1899

The Inland Printer, March 1899

The Inland Printer, April 1899

The Inland Printer, May 1899

The Inland Printer, June 1899

The Inland Printer, July 1899

The Inland Printer, August 1899
The Inland Printer, August 1899


More information:



December 1894 

(Updated October 2, 2013; next post on Monday)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Street Scene: The Metropolitan Opera's Ring Cycle


 N E W Y O R K C I T Y 
Lincoln Center, Manhattan
April 29, 2012


Das Rheingold

Die Walkure

 Siegfried by Peter Doig

Götterdämmerung by Dana Schutz

A look at the logo for the Roy Thomas and Gil Kane
adaptation of The Ring of the Nibelung, Parts 1 and 2.
Neal Adams illustration for the 1990 Ring of the Nibelung

(Next Monday: Ault & Wiborg Inks)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Anatomy of a Logo: The Ring of the Nibelung, Part 2


On September 7, 1989, I met with Andy to discuss the logo. The decision was made to use the third logo design but with the “R” from the second one (see part 1 for all three designs).





A few days later, I began work on the logo art. A tight rendering was made on tracing paper. “The” was cut apart and moved slightly closer to “Ring”. This rendering was enlarged on a photocopier.



Next, I sketched out “of the Nibelung”, which was done on top of an arch I had drawn. Out of all the math formulas I learned in school, the most useful was the one for determining the circumference of a circle.






The finished art was done on vellum and India ink. I sprayed an adhesive on the back of the vellum and mounted “The Ring” on illustration board. White gouache was used for corrections. The vellum with “of the Nibelung” was mounted on acetate and overlaid on “The Ring”. The logo was delivered to Andy on September 19. 




When the logo was returned to me, I noticed a pinkish stain on the acetate overlay. Someone in the DC production staff had made a film positive of “of the Nibelung” and on it wrote in marker: “The Ring” by Richard Wagner + Alex Jay. The film positive was under the acetate and the marker ink had transferred to the acetate.



Below are the covers of the four books. Later, the stories were reprinted in a single volume.







(Tomorrow: The Metropolitan Opera’s Ring cycle bannersNeal Adams illustration for the 1990 Ring of the Nibelung)