Dissections

Blue Pencil was born out of the disappointment of seeing the editorial quality of books on graphic design and typographic history decline precipitously over the past decade. Its raison d’être is to dissect books on graphic design history and typography to ferret out errors—typographical, orthographical and factual—in such books and post them publicly. Dissections are not done to denigrate authors, but to rebuke proofreaders and editors who have failed their jobs and publishers who have abdicated their responsibility to the reader. Blue Pencil marks up a text with an eye to improving it.

Blue Pencil no. 48—One Hundred Books Famous in Typography, Part 1 [Foreword and Introduction]

Title page of One Hundred Books Famous in Typography (2021). The design is indebted to the title page for Janson: A Definitive Collection by Jack Stauffacher (see no. 72).
Note: When I began this dissection it was intended as a single post—even as it grew much longer than expected. However, I was forced to break it up into smaller chunks when I ran into an unexplained “failure error” while trying to save the draft one day. Rather than try to break …
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Blue Pencil no. 48—One Hundred Books Famous in Typography, Part 11 [notes on the images]

Notes on the images
In the previous Blue Pencil posts on One Hundred Books Famous in Typography my comments on each entry in the book included descriptions of the accompanying illustrations. I provided information that should have been in captions, suggested alternative choices, noted differences with the pages on display in the exhibition, and pointed out alterations to the original image. It is this latter point that I wish to discuss here.
If my eye is correct—and I may be wrong on …
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Blue Pencil no. 48—One Hundred Books Famous in Typography, Part 10 [Further Reading, etc.]

Note: When I began this dissection it was intended as a single post—even as it grew much longer than expected. However, I was forced to break it up into smaller chunks when I ran into an unexplained “failure error” when trying to save the draft one day. Rather than try to break up the dissection into equally sized posts based on word counts, I decided instead to make separate posts based on the divisions used in the Grolier Club exhibition …
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Blue Pencil no. 48—One Hundred Books Famous in Typography, Part 9 [Fifty Typefaces Famous in Typography]

Note: When I began this dissection it was intended as a single post—even as it grew much longer than expected. However, I was forced to break it up into smaller chunks when I ran into an unexplained “failure error” when trying to save the draft one day. Rather than try to break up the dissection into equally sized posts based on word counts, I decided instead to make separate posts based on the divisions used in the Grolier Club exhibition …
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Blue Pencil no. 48—One Hundred Books Famous in Typography, Part 8 [Brave New World] nos. 86–100

Note: When I began this dissection it was intended as a single post—even as it grew much longer than expected. However, I was forced to break it up into smaller chunks when I ran into an unexplained “failure error” when trying to save the draft one day. Rather than try to break up the dissection into equally sized posts based on word counts, I decided instead to make separate posts based on the divisions used in the Grolier Club exhibition …
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Blue Pencil no. 48—One Hundred Books Famous in Typography, Part 7 [Modern Masters] nos. 68–85

Note: When I began this dissection it was intended as a single post—even as it grew much longer than expected. However, I was forced to break it up into smaller chunks when I ran into an unexplained “failure error” when trying to save the draft one day. Rather than try to break up the dissection into equally sized posts based on word counts, I decided instead to make separate posts based on the divisions used in the Grolier Club exhibition …
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Blue Pencil no. 48—One Hundred Books Famous in Typography, Part 6 [The Machine Age] nos. 54–67

Note: When I began this dissection it was intended as a single post—even as it grew much longer than expected. However, I was forced to break it up into smaller chunks when I ran into an unexplained “failure error” when trying to save the draft one day. Rather than try to break up the dissection into equally sized posts based on word counts, I decided instead to make separate posts based on the divisions used in the Grolier Club exhibition …
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Blue Pencil no. 48—One Hundred Books Famous in Typography, Part 5 [Looking Back] nos. 36–53

Note: When I began this dissection it was intended as a single post—even as it grew much longer than expected. However, I was forced to break it up into smaller chunks when I ran into an unexplained “failure error” when trying to save the draft one day. Rather than try to break up the dissection into equally sized posts based on word counts, I decided instead to make separate posts based on the divisions used in the Grolier Club exhibition …
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Blue Pencil no. 48—One Hundred Books Famous in Typography, Part 4 [The Age of Reason] nos. 20–35

Note: When I began this dissection it was intended as a single post—even as it grew much longer than expected. However, I was forced to break it up into smaller chunks when I ran into an unexplained “failure error” when trying to save the draft one day. Rather than try to break up the dissection into equally sized posts based on word counts, I decided instead to make separate posts based on the divisions used in the Grolier Club exhibition …
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Blue Pencil no. 48—One Hundred Books Famous in Typography, Part 2 [In the Beginning] nos. 1–9

Note: When I began this dissection it was intended as a single post—even as it grew much longer than expected. However, I was forced to break it up into smaller chunks when I ran into an unexplained “failure error” when trying to save the draft one day. Rather than try to break up the dissection into equally sized posts based on word counts, I decided instead to make separate posts based on the divisions used in the Grolier Club exhibition …
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Blue Pencil no. 48—One Hundred Books Famous in Typography, Part 3 [The First Golden Age] nos. 10–19

Note: When I began this dissection it was intended as a single post—even as it grew much longer than expected. However, I was forced to break it up into smaller chunks when I ran into an unexplained “failure error” when trying to save the draft one day. Rather than try to break up the dissection into equally sized posts based on word counts, I decided instead to make separate posts based on the divisions used in the Grolier Club exhibition …
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Blue Pencil no. 49—Creative Typography

Creative Type: A Sourcebook of Classic and Contemporary Letterforms by Alston Purvis, Cees de Jong, and Friedrich Friedl (London and New York: Thames & Hudson, 2005)
This is not a full Blue Pencil dissection. It is based solely on the portions of Creative Type available as a Google Books preview online. The preview includes the front cover, pp. 268, 276, 279–280, 282–291, 294–295, 297, 299–304, 306–310, 313–320, 322–323, 326–327, 329–333, 335, 338, 340, 342–345, 347, 349–351, 353–355, 357–359, 362–364, …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 179—The Ninety-first Psalm

This post is part of a trio concerning handwritten booklets that W.A. Dwiggins created between 19o5 and 1913. For the other two see The Definitive Dwiggins no. 133 The Parable of the Prodigal Son and The Definitive Dwiggins no. 713 A Description of Christ.

Daniel Berkeley Updike of The Merrymount Press wrote to W.A. Dwiggins on July 5, 1906 asking him for a copy of the “Psalm,” saying that “I may be able to get you a little bit of …
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Blue Pencil no. 42—Revival Type

Revival Type: Digital Typefaces Inspired by the Past by Paul Shaw with Abby Goldstein (New Haven: Yale University Press and London: Thames & Hudson, 2017). Design by Abby Goldstein.
I am not immune from the Blue Pencil treatment. Like every author, I have made mistakes despite my diligence. I am embarrassed by them. Recently, Jerry Kelly, in reviewing Revival Type: Digital Typefaces Inspired by the Past (2017) for Printing History 23 (New Series, Winter 2018) pointed out some errors in the book. All …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 15—The Origins of Metro

With the release of Metro Nova by Toshi Omagari in 2013, there has been renewed interest in Metro by W.A. Dwiggins. And with that renewed interest has come misinformation.
Fonts.com has a brief history of Metro’s origins that manages to garble the facts, most of which are well-known. Here is their text:
One day in the late 1920s, C. H. Griffiths, who was responsible for typographic development at Mergenthaler Linotype at the time, read a magazine article bemoaning the lack …
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AIGA Timeline: A Window on American Graphic Design

In the course of preparing my posts on AIGA Medalists I kept looking in vain to the AIGA website for information. I especially found the AIGA History Timeline on its website to be deficient. The timeline, which runs backward from 2014 to 1914, is very sketchy for the decades prior to 1980. Out of 33 entries, 24 of them are for the last thirty-four years. Here is a decade-by-decade breakdown:
1914—1919—1 entry
1920–1929—2 entries
1930–1939—1 entry
1940–1949—1 entry
1950–1959—2 entries
1960–1969—1 entry
1970–1979—3 entries
1980–1989—5 entries
1990–1999—7 entries
2000–2009—7 entries
2010–present—5 …
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