Herb Lubalin, born one hundred years ago, was an American graphic designer and type designer, a founder of ITC, editor of its magazine U&lc, and a Type Directors Club Medal recipient, an award presented to those ‘who have made significant contributions the life, art and craft of typography’. The Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography at the Cooper Union School of Art was founded in 1985, four years after his death, its focus being to preserve design history through its core collection of Lubalin’s work and extensive archive of design ephemera. Lubalin notably contributed to the design of ITC Avant Garde Gothic and ITC Lubalin Graph. ITC Avant Garde Gothic was based on the logo font, designed by Lubalin, used in Avant Garde magazine. ITC Lubalin Graph was based on ITC Avant Garde but modified to accommodate slab serifs, clearly seen when you look at the typefaces together.
PMN Caecilia is a humanist slab serif typeface designed by Peter Matthias Noordzu and released by Linotype in 1990. The typeface has low-contrast stroke weights and an even texture, large x-height, open counters and unbracketed serifs, all features that make it easy to read. The family contains a large range of weights — light, roman, bold, heavy, oldstyle — and an extensive character set. The friendliness and readability of PMN Caecilia make it an excellent font for use in childrens’ and educational publishing, and it is the font of choice for the Kindle.
Rockwell is a slab serif typeface released by Monotype in 1934. The design, based on Litho Antique, was overseen by Frank Hinman Pierpont, Monotype’s in-house designer. Rockwell is geometric and mono-weighted (although with some slight unevenness that stops it looking too regular), with a large x-height and unbracketed serifs — features that make it suitable for display purposes rather than for large bodies of text. Distinguishing features of Rockwell are the serif at the apex of the uppercase A and the circular O of the light and regular weights.
Memphis is an Egyptian, or slab serif, typeface designed by Rudolf Wolf in 1929 for Stempel, the Frankfurt type foundry opened by David Stempel in 1895. Slab serif typefaces were popular in the early 1800s but Memphis was the first twentieth-century slab serif design. The letter shapes are geometric and the stems and serifs have the same optical weight. Noticeable features of Memphis are the apex serif on the uppercase A and the angle of the tail on the uppercase Q. Memphis is an excellent display face for posters and headlines but also works well for short blocks of text.