Logos and typefaces and fonts (oh, my!) [was: RE: DEC Logo]

Rich Alderson RichA at LivingComputerMuseum.org
Tue Jun 30 14:21:13 CDT 2015

From: Dave G4UGM
Sent: Tuesday, June 30, 2015 8:43 AM

>> From: cctalk [mailto:cctalk-bounces at classiccmp.org] On Behalf Of Toby Thain
>> Sent: 30 June 2015 14:10

>> On 2015-06-30 4:44 AM, simon wrote:

>>> On 29-06-15 14:56, Toby Thain wrote:

>>>> On 2015-06-29 3:54 AM, simon wrote:

>>>>> the front of the internal bus options maintenance manual in front of me.
>>>>> But looking at the f in 8/f gives me the impression they mixed some
>>>>> fonts for the logo and taking a closer look at the line:

>>>>> "digital equipment corporation . maynard. massachusetts"

>>>>> is proving both of us wrong. the y in maynard is a rounded version,
>>>>> but both futura and avant garde hve a straight y.

>>>>> "...the search continues..."

>>>> Can you scan the page you're looking at?

>>> tada.wav: https://hack42.nl/mediawiki/images/a/a7/Dec_footer.png

>>> it is also used on the front of the pdp8/f here at our museum.

> If it’s the oldest logo why do Straight Eights have a serifed font...

> http://dustyoldcomputers.com/pdp8/images-3C8F62C8/R3378-hp.jpg


This early brochure for the PDP-1 features the vertical d
logo in a picture, as well as a serif face for titles and *on the machine*.

Our PDP-7 likewise has a serif face for "Digital Equipment Corporation" on its
name plate, with an outline block sans-serif "PDP-7".  A brief survey of the
manuals for the 18-bit systems on Bitsavers shows that the change from a serif
face for titles occurred during the development of the PDP-7 documentation:
The preliminary edition of the User Handbook has the system name in a block
serif typeface, while the release edition has the name in a block sans-serif.
The PDP-6 (36-bit system) also uses the serif face; the PDP-8 is schizophrenic,
and the PDP-9 et seq. use sans-serif.

Note that I use the terms (type)face and logo, not "font".  Until Apple
bastardized the term, a _font_ was a package of metal type in a particular
_typeface_, and was the unit by which type was ordered from a foundry.  A
_logo_ was a special item, cast as a single unit for printing, not a collection
of individual pieces of type.

Someone in this thread mentioned having been in the graphics design trade, and
can certainly back me up on this, as well as on the fact that advertising
houses and departments generally designed their own lettering for lithographic
reproduction rather than using commercially available typefaces; the latter
were used for printed materials consisting of large stretches of text rather
than one-offs.  (A company might adopt a face, or commission one, as part of
the house identity, in which case the lettering done by the graphics people
would probably resemble the face, but it's unlikely that it would be cast at
the large sizes needed for advertising, since each size requires a set of steel
punches to be engraved and a set of matrices to be produced.)


Rich Alderson
Vintage Computing Sr. Systems Engineer
Living Computer Museum
2245 1st Avenue S
Seattle, WA 98134

mailto:RichA at LivingComputerMuseum.org


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