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Published by Sébastien Hayez

New Alphabets A to Z (Spencer & Forbes, 1974)

Written by Sébastien Hayez, 6 years ago, 2 Comments
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New Alphabets A to Z
Herbert Spencer and Colin Forbes
New York: Watson-Guptill Publications
8.5 x 8 size (22 x 21 cm)
1974, first edition
80 pages
Hardcover, with dust jacket


Back cover


A french edition of this book have been published by Les éditions du Chêne in 1974 too. Tjhe design is exactly the same.

The layout is a minimal composition: contents is presented in 2 spread pages, creating a complet alphabet with numerals and some punctuation marks. A short text is explaning the creation context and the use of the type.

Then, the left page is the complete black alphabet when the right page, sometime in color, present only one letter, and sometimes in use.

Herbert Spencer was a renowned typographer, editor, designer and founder of the British journal TYPOGRAPHICA. Spencer championed an eclectic range of subject matter: Braille, locomotive lettering, sex and typography, typewriter faces, street lettering, matches, and avant-garde poetry, thus making him the perfect editior for this volume of New Alphabetic Art.
Colin Forbes joined Alan Fletcher and Bob Gill, an American living in London, to form Fletcher, Forbes and Gill in 1962. By 1972 they had changed their name to Pentagram. You might have heard of them.

Book featuring 38 full alphabets and numerals (66 illustrations, with 5 in color) designed by a wide variety of cutting-edge typographers, circa 1973. All alphabets are reproduced in clean, crisp black & white line art, in front of a specific glyph, sometime in color.

Includes ALPHABETS DESIGNED BY: Anthon Beeke, Bentley/Farrell, Derek Birdsall, Tom Carnase, Ivan Chermayeff and Thomas Geismar, Christine Charlton, Alan Clarvis, Brian Coe, Silvio Coppola, Wim Crouwel, Timothy Epps, Alan Fletcher, Alan Fletcher and Mervyn Kurlansky, Bob Gill, Joe Gillespie, David Goodall, John Gorham, Eli Gross, Chris Harrison, Armin Hoffman, George Hoy, Nick Jenkins, Ron van der Meer, Eric Mourier, Wolff Olins, WJHB Sandberg, David Tuhill.

Copies can be found very easily on the net, prices are between 15 to 150 US$.
Send a message if you want more information about this book.

Texts are based on the Modernism 101 page.

About Sébastien Hayez

Art director, graphic designer & illustrator from Lyon, France. Admin at Co-admin of the Facebook group Archives Graphiques Curator at Writer at The Shelf, issue 2.

  1. […] based upon the work of Danish designer, Eric Mourier. The original design appeared in ‘New Alphabets A-Z’ by Spencer & Forbes, 1973. This book contains some 40 eccentric explorations in type design, […]

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