Thursday, January 30, 2014

Publishers Weekly, August 8, 1942

The cover of Publishers Weekly, Volume 142, Number 6, August 8, 1942.
I had been meaning to read a copy of Publishers Weekly from the war years. Unfortunately, the magazine’s digital archive doesn’t go back that far, and I couldn’t find a library nearby that has back issues. So, I went ahead and bought a random issue that I found on Boy, oh boy, did I ever luck out.

I was surprised to see that August 8, 1942 issue focused most of its articles on book design. And the issue itself was the debut of a new look for the magazine. After flipping through a bunch of ads for new book releases, the articles are preceded by an editorial by the magazine’s editor Frederic G. Melcher (who was also one of the directors of The Council on Books in Wartime).

This opening editorial describes the process behind the new 1942 design of Publishers Weekly. (get a closer look to read the text)
Charles C. S. Dean was the outside designer hired to work on the redesign. There is a nice biography of Dean further on in the issue. I really like his hand lettered treatment of the magazine title. Such a contrast to today’s app button style (and how long is that treatment going to last now that “flat” is replacing skeuomorphic design?).

The bio explains that Dean took the Goudy of the magazine’s previous masthead and modernized it. I’ll have to find a 1941 issue to compare the cover designs. For the body text he chose the font Caledonia, designed by William A. Dwiggins in 1939. This issue I bought also has an article about Dwiggins, which I'll scan for a upcoming post.

Charles C. S. Dean, designer of the new for 1942 Publishers Weekly. (get a closer look to read the text)

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