|Avant Garde logo designed by Herb Lubalin.|
Last week, one of our readers requested (via our Facebook page!) a Tuesday Typefaces on the work of Herb Lubalin, and we are here to deliver! The typeface of this week is one of Lubalin’s most famous typefaces (if not his most popular): ITC Avant Garde, a typeface (and now a font family) that was designed by Lubalin and his design partner, Tom Carnase, based on the logo Lubalin originally designed for the short-lived Avant Garde magazine (January 1968-July 1971).
|Avant Garde Medium|
The original typeface Lubalin created was meant solely for use in logos: it consisted of 26 capital letters. Carnase helped Lubalin realize the potential of the typeface he had designed, and the two worked to expand it into a full-fledged typeface. ITC Avant Garde is characterized by its geometrically perfect round strokes and short lines. Nearly ever letter that involves a curve—such as the “a” or “p,” for example—consist of perfect circles and small, straight lines. These lines are subtle, heightening the dramatic roundness of the curved aspects of each letter. Bold, clear, and easy to read, this sans-serif typeface is particularly useful for signs, logos, or anything that requires a display face.ITC Avant Garde is also known for its large number of ligatures—or pieces of type that consist of more than one letter, such as “th” or “fl,” allowing the two letters to connect—similar to the ones used in the original logo design.
|Adidas logo, which uses Avant Garde|
Lubalin, who was a founder of the International Typeface Corporation (the ITC in ITC Avant Garde) released a full version of the typeface in 1970, when the magazine was still active. The typeface became wildly popular, and in 1974, the condensed members of the font family (drawn by Ed Benguiat) were produced with the oblique versions (designed by André Gürtler, Erich Gschwind and Christian Mengelt) released shortly after, in 1977. The face was so ubiquitous that it became a stereotypical 1970’s font, and is used today to reference that era.
Currently, ITC Avant Garde is the main font for the logos of Meralco (the Philippines’ largest distributor of electrical power!) and the slightly more well-known Adidas, as well as one of the main typefaces used by the Sony Corporation (particularly for Fox Asia).
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