Monday, May 6, 2013

Anatomy of a Logo and Under Cover: Time Machine


Time Machine was a 25-book series produced by the late Byron Preiss. With the success of the Choose Your Own Adventure booka, published by Bantam Books, Byron developed a time travel adventure series.

For his presentation to Bantam Books he explained to me that he wanted a retail display box. Below is a photocopy of the box cover; inside was the box stand with two shelves and room for 24 books. The title font is Electus, from Photo-Lettering. In school I recalled seeing this font which was used by the design firm Brownjohn, Chermayeff & Geismar for their client, Electric Circus, a New York City nightclub.


When Bantam Books bought the series, work began right away on the design. Below are the sketches of a symbol for the series. Arrows, sun dial, and figures going through some form of transformation.

Byron and I decided on the figure going through a portal. Having grown up reading Dr. Strange, the image of him entering an inter-dimensional portal was a major influence on the design of the Time Machine symbol. Below is the splash page from Strange Tales #138 with art by Steve Ditko.

The figure between the E and 1 was an early attempt at incorporating the symbol in the title.

Trying to determine how many lines to use to define the figure.

The next three images show the last stage of creating the symbol art: outline version was photocopied and filled in before completing the finished art.

Sketch of the title logo followed by a tight pencil rendering.

The finished lettering with the symbol between the words. Below the title are the numbers which were created as needed. The 6 was turned upside down for the 9.

The original design of the 4 which was modified in the finished art, shown above.

When the series numbering reached double digits, I made a film positive of the 1 and 2. Then the film was placed over to a photocopied number. A photostat was made of the combined numbers.

Press release letterhead design by Bantam Books

Decal design by Bantam Books

The cover text and title font is ITC Berkeley Oldstyle, except for the two lines of text above the logo which is ITC Benguiat Condensed, from the Benguiat font family used on the Choose Your Own Adventure books.

Secret of the Knights
Jim Gasperini
Illustrated by Richard Hescox
Cover by Richard Hescox

Search for Dinosaurs
David Bischoff
Illustrated by Doug Henderson and Alex Nino
Cover by William Stout

Sword of the Samurai
Michael Reaves and Steve Perry
Illustrated by Steve Leialoha
Cover by William Stout

Sail with Pirates
Jim Gasperini
Illustrated by John Pierard and Alex Nino
Cover by Dave Stevens

Civil War Secret Agent
Steve Perry
Illustrated by Alex Nino
Cover by Steve Fastner

Box set with the first five books

The Rings of Saturn
Arthur Byron Cover
Illustrated by Brian Humphrey and Marc Hempel
Cover by William Stout

Ice Age Explorer
Dougal Dixon
Illustrated by Doug Henderson and Alex Nino
Cover by William Stout

The Mystery of Atlantis
Jim Gasperini
Illustrated by Kenneth Smith
Cover by Kenneth Smith

Wild West Rider
Stephen Overholser
Illustrated by Steve Leialoha
Cover by Steve Leialoha

American Revolutionary
Arthur Byron Cover
Illustrated by Walter P. Martishius and Alex Nino
Cover by Alex Nino

Mission to World War II
Susan Nanus and Marc Kornblatt
Illustrated by John Pierard
Cover by Darrel Anderson

Search for the Nile
Robert W. Walker
Illustrated by José Gonzalez Navaroo
Cover by William Stout

Secret of the Royal Treasure
Carol Gaskin
Illustrated by Ernie Colón
Cover by Ernie Colón

Blade of the Guillotine
Arthur Byron Cover
Illustrated by Scott Hampton
Cover by Steranko

Flame of the Inquisition
Marc Kornblatt
Illustrated by John Pierard
Cover by Paul Rivoche

Quest for the Cities of Gold
Richard Glatzer
Illustrated by José Gonzalez Navaroo
Cover by William Stout

Scotland Yard Detective
Seymour V. Reit
Illustrated by Charles Vess
Cover by Charles Vess

Sword of Caesar
Robin Stevenson and Bruce Stevenson
Illustrated by Richard Hescox
Cover by Richard Hescox

Death Mask of Pancho Villa
Carol Gaskin and George Guthridge
Illustrated by Kenneth Huey
Cover by Steranko

Bound for Australia
Nancy Bailey
Illustrated by Julek Heller
Cover by Steve Fastner

Caravan to China
Carol Gaskin
Illustrated by José Gonzalez Navaroo
Cover by William Stout

Last of the Dinosaurs
Peter Lerangis
Illustrated by Doug Henderson
Cover by Mark Hallett

Quest for King Arthur
Ruth Ashby
Illustrated by Scott Caple
Cover by Charles Vess

World War I Flying Ace
Richard Mueller
Illustrated by George Pratt
Cover by Steve Fastner

World War II Code Breaker
Peter Lerangis
Illustrated by Alex Nino
Cover by Steve Fastner

Foreign Editions


There’s more information about each Time Machine book at Demian's Gamebook Web Page.

Promotional material for retailers
Front
Back

Poster


(Next post on Monday: The Forever City)

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post, Alex. It’s the first Electus use I’ve seen. More about that typeface and its predecessors in this post at Fonts In Use.

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  2. Fascinating! The "Time Machine" books were part of my childhood (although only a handful of them made it to Poland where I lived) and I always thought the logo and the cover looked awesome.

    ReplyDelete