Not All Designers Wear Black

There was a time when not all designers wore black, carried Frietag bags, and lived in Brooklyn. There was a time when the average age of AIGA members was 64.6 years old. There was a time when giants of design made books and typefaces that were elegant and pristine. That’s the time when Bruce Rogers practiced his craft.

“Bruce Rogers (1870-1957), an urbane, scholarly, meticulous, ingenious, roving man from Indiana, who applied his arts for many publishers and printers on both sides of the Atlantic, is widely considered the first great professional book designer,” the historian Max Hall has written. “Some think him the greatest ever.”

In The Printed Book in America, Joseph Blumenthal describes one of Mr. Roger’s most important typefaces: “Centaur is a beautiful type, delicate and subtle, which was made available on Monotype composition. It has never been widely popular in the trade, but has been used with elegant effect by sensitive typographic designers.”

Just to remember, here are some photographs from a 1950 Typophiles chapbook in honor of Mr. Rogers. Now he was a natty designer par excellence.

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