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Meet ‘Souvenir’, The Typeface Known As ‘Comic Sans’ Of The 1970s
By Mikelle Leow, 20 Aug 2018
Image via fonts.com
20 years before ‘Comic Sans’ came along, people were swarmed by—and detested—a serif called ‘Souvenir’. Now that retro typefaces are celebrated again, it’s hard to fathom why people would cringe at the sight of this gem, but type historian Simon Garfield has dubbed it the “‘Comic Sans’ of its day.”
First developed in 1914 by American type designer Morris Fuller Benton, ‘Souvenir’ was brought back and reworked upon by Ed Benguiat—the man behind the famous ‘ITC Benguiat’, also known as the Stranger Things typeface—in 1967 and 1971.
Unfortunately, ‘Souvenir’ shared a similar fate as ‘Comic Sans’. Its warm appearance made it too approachable, and on top of that, technology made it too accessible.
‘Souvenir’ arrived at a time when phototypesetting was the chosen means for printing. Entire font sets were captured in filmstrips and could be projected onto pages via phototypesetting machines, allowing for small businesses to collect extensive libraries for cheap instead of purchasing metal types.
Under the employment of the International Typeface Corporation (ITC), Benguiat renamed the typeface to ‘ITC Souvenir’, and it became so popular that the company sold it on most phototypesetting machines.
Soon enough, ‘ITC Souvenir’ was practically everywhere. It made up the body text of Bill Gates’ first business card, marketed Diesel’s underwear line, and was the subtitle on the 1974 novel cover of Jaws.
Fame became notoriety, and ‘ITC Souvenir’ was shoved aside, waiting to be rediscovered by a generation that would take to its quintessentially 1970s aesthetic. Now that it’s no longer overused, could it be making its second heyday in the coming years?
Image via MyFonts
Image via fonts.com
Bill Gates very first Microsoft business card really is a joy to behold. pic.twitter.com/yIClYQVaBZ— Miradore (@MiradoreLtd) June 6, 2017
[via Magenta, images via various sources]
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