Legibility, which is a very important element of an airplane. So we used Helvetica, which was brand new at the time. And we wanted to make one word of American Airlines, half red and half blue. What could be more American than that? And there were no other logos then that were two colors of the same word. We took the space away, made one word, and split it again by color. It looked great. The typeface was great. We proceeded by logic, not emotion. Not trends and fashions.
We thought a generic design would work best in order to make this distinction. The new identity was created by using strict typography, a minimalist layout, standardised formats and no colour. Being the most generic and incidental typeface, Courier was selected as the new corporate font. To guarantee a unique identity we changed the capital “A” of Courier according to Herbert Bayer’s well-known logo on the front of the Bauhaus Dessau building.
The identity also makes use of Arial, presumably due to its prevalence on most machines.
Photo-Lettering from House Industries allows you to easily set headlines and download scalable vector files of the results. The service is relatively inexpensive and will be well suited to projects that need some quick custom lettering. If you don’t know anything about photo-lettering, take some time to go through the history section of the site.
Rob Mientjes adds serifs to the typeface that everyone loves to hate, giving us Comic Serif, complete with swashy Q. Why not? This one is more in keeping with the original typeface than the version I mentioned a couple years ago.
Is this arbitrary? Sure it is. But so are a lot of our conventions for writing. It’s arbitrary that we write shop instead of shoppe, or phone instead of fone, or that we use ! to emphasize a sentence rather than %. We adopted these standards because practitioners of publishingâ€”writers, editors, typographers, and othersâ€”settled on them after decades of experience. Among their rules was that we should use one space after a period instead of twoâ€”so that’s how we should do it.
In my high-school typing class, we were working on ancient ICON computers which used monospace type, and were told to leave two spaces after a period for readability. I then spent years developing muscle-memory that had me double-tapping the spacebar after every full-stop. In university, I started writing for one of the newspapers and got yelled at for putting in double spaces and messing up the copy-setting — I learned quick. Fast-forward to book design, and given any sort of manuscript, getting rid of the double spaces is one of the first priorities. Remember, just one space.
This first selection of 23 typefaces represent a new branch in our collection tree. They are all digital or designed with a foresight of the scope of the digital revolution, and they all significantly respond to the technological advancements occurring in the second half of the twentieth century. Each is a milestone in the history of typography.
The site lists all of the typefaces and the reasoning behind the selections.