The 1928 logotype for Sertal Toiletries consisted of a stylized woman’s head, a very snaky S, and five fine, fat deco caps spelling out the rest of the brand name. From these five clues, designer Nick Curtis divined the “rules” of the typeface and drew a complete alphabet, including a lower case. The result: ITC Scram Gravy.
The finished product could be described as Bodoni on steroids. Tight curls in characters like the ‘m,’ ‘r’ and ‘y’ soften the lower case and give the design a light-hearted flavor.
ITC Scram Gravy takes its name from one of many running gags in the screwball comic strip “Smokey Stover,” which had folks alternately splitting their sides and scratching their heads from 1935 to 1973. Those familiar with Bill Holman’s strip will recall Smokey’s car, the Foomobile, and one of his famous nonsense declarations: “No foo-ling, that scram gravy ain’t wavy."