Type Trading Cards: Élan/AmericanTypewriter
Albert Boton, the designer of ITC Élan, began his professional career as carpenter. Fortunately for designers and typographers, he quickly turned from pounding nails to hammering out graphic design and constructing great letterforms.
Little is outside Boton’s range of typeface styles; and yet there is an underlying flavor to all his designs. Whether the classic serif forms of Pompei, the elegant san serif shapes of ITC Eras, or powerful display characters in Pharaon and Kit, all have that mix of sophistication, joie de vive – and a “twinkle in their eye” that is also Albert Boton.
ITC Élan is right at home with Boton’s other typeface designs. Aaron Burns, one of the founders of ITC, first saw the sketches that were to become Élan at an international type conference held in Beaune, France. This was three years prior to its release in 1985. Burns encouraged Boton and worked with him to fine-tune the design. This was also the beginning of a friendship between the two men that lasted until Burn’s death in 1991.
ITC American Typewriter
The first typewriter was manufactured in 1874; and shortly after that, the American Type Founders Company released the first typewriter-like typeface. Their intent was to make a typeface available to printers that would give documents the “immediacy” and “personalism” found in typewritten copy. It, and succeeding designs from other founders, did a respectable job of meeting this goal. The problem was, these designs were, like typewriter type, monospaced designs that suffered economy of space, legibility and readability.
ITC American Typewriter was designed when, well, people still used typewriters. It was intended to capture the feeling of typewriter type but have the benefits of a proportional spaced typeface design. In the 21st century, typewriters are looked upon as an office artifact but ITC American Typewriter still has a fresh, inviting – if slightly retro – personality.
- Allan Haley is Director of Words & Letters at Monotype Imaging. Here he is responsible for strategic planning and creative implementation of just about everything related to typeface designs. He is also responsible for editorial content for the company’s type libraries and Web sites.
- Prior to working for Monotype, Mr. Haley was Principal of Resolution, a consulting firm with expertise in fonts, font technology, type and typographic communication. He was also executive vice president of International Typeface Corporation.
- Mr. Haley is ex officio Chairman of the Board of the Society of Typographic Aficionados, and past President of the New York Type Directors Club. He is highly regarded as an educator and is a frequently requested speaker at national computer and design conferences.
- Mr. Haley is also a prolific writer, with five books on type and graphic communication and hundreds of articles for graphic design publications to his credit.