The New Vintage Posters Masthead

For anybody interested in the niceties of these things, let me talk you through the process of arriving at the design of our new logo. I do like to renew it from time to time, just to keep me on my toes as much as anything.

The previous design, I felt, had served me well but had served its time, and the new website required a fresh appearance.

A. M. Cassandre in his studio, 1944.

The art deco period of the nineteen twenties and thirties offers an abundance of possibilities in type design, and these are integral, along with the illustration, to the overall graphic composition of the advertising posters of the period.

From the start of the process I was tempted to use Gill Sans, one of my all-time favourite fonts designed by the English artist, sculptor, designer and sexual deviant Eric Gill. But I use this font many times in my promotional material, and I wanted to keep the website graphics distinctive.

Eventually I turned to A. M. Cassandre, quite possibly the finest type designer of the early twentieth century. The typestyle that I settled on (stole), after a considerable amount of trawling through my library of Art Deco graphic books, came from a poster promoting the French Grand Fortnight of International Lawn-Tennis in 1932. This is a wonderfully simple airbrush illustration, pared down to its essentials, with the drawing and text, which was almost certainly also hand-drawn, taking equal billing. Perfect.

To begin the process, I scanned the text area of the poster and opened a Photoshop file, creating a separate layer for each letter. I drew each letter using the pen tool (and I do favour Photoshop over Adobe Illustrator for this purpose), then I simply filled each letter with colour before arranging and spacing the line of text. I needed to create a couple of (simple) letters, but basically they were all there for me.

For the new website, I wanted a minimalist grey and black line of type to emphasise the colours of the posters, which I think has proven a success. Well, I like it anyway.



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