Narrative Types

Posted inThe Daily Heller
Thumbnail for Narrative Types

Tom Geismar (of Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv) produced this delightful typographic tale as a small booklet in 1956 when he was just 23. It was his degree requirement for Yale’s Graphic Design Department, and so he printed only a few copies by himself.

It was, however, seen by 33-year-old Columbia Records art director Bob Cato, who was guest editing a special issue of Print (Volume X, No 1) in 1957—70 years ago—devoted to “Sources of Inspiration.” He was inspired then, and although this kind of “talking type” is not new, this continues to have a certain joie de vivre from when it was first produced.

tales of woe by Tom Geismar
angular "A" went astray
baroque "B" lost his pedigree
clumsy "C" slipped on a pea
dancing "D" went on a spree
eccentric "E" married a flea
fat "F" devoured the chef
genteel "G" ran out of tea
horizontal "H" doesn't rhyme with anything
incised "I" was cut awry
jocular "J" cried all day
knobby "K" got in his own way
lavish "L" loved a ne'er-do-well
massive "M" lost sight of her hem
narrow "N" was crushed by a wren
oriented "O" died long ago
plumps "P" sat on a bee
quaint "Q" ate arsenic stew
rustic "R" became a guitar
shady "S" had much to confess
tumbling "T" broke his knee
upright "U" tipped her canoe
vanishing v was lost at sea
weighty "W" sank in a tub o' glue
exotic "X" now wears specs
yankee "Y" lost the star in his eye
zandy "Z" ends with drollery

The 2017 PRINT RDA: Extended Deadline. Enter Now!

Enter the most respected competition in graphic design—now open to both pros and students—for a chance to have your work published, win a pass to HOW Design Live, and more. 2017 Judges: Aaron Draplin / Jessica Hische / Pum Lefebure / Ellen Lupton / Eddie Opara / Paula Scher. Student work judges: PRINT editorial & creative director Debbie Millman and PRINT editor-in-chief Zachary Petit.

print regional design  awards

Draplin image: Leah Nash. Hische: Helena Price. Lupton: Michelle Qureshi. Scher: Ian Roberts.