Alphabets to Go

Posted inThe Daily Heller
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Today we have Amazon, Blue Apron and Grubhub, among the hundreds of sign-on, click-on and receive-on-the-same-day services for just about any commodity. In the 1960s, take-out required a little more effort. But typefaces were just a phone call away and Photolettering Inc., at Murry Hill 2-2346, could accept your order at 9 a.m. and by 3 p.m. deliver the typography to your door, ready for paste-up.

Milton Glaser and Seymour Chwast created this “convenient wall chart for essential phone numbers and Push Pin [studio exclusive] alphabets available at Photolettering Inc.” All the Push Pin classic display types, from Glaser’s “Baby Teeth” to Chwast’s “Artone,” were available in this beautiful poster.

If you were designing like Push Pin in those days, this was a necessary studio or office accessory. Indeed one of the cleverest type specimens I’ve seen in quite a while. (For those of you unfamiliar with landlines, the round thing in the middle is a rotary dial, a quaint little device that you had to turn round and round to dial your number. They were, however, replaced by push buttons, which gave way to voice activation.)


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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →