Any designer working in the last quarter of the 20th century seems to have
more than a passing sense of loss at the thought that there is no more
magazine called U&lc. I recall my brother talking about this magazine called
"You and Elsie" and thinking what a weird name for a design magazine. Then
seeing the error in my phonetic title mixup and not being any more
enlightened until someone explained "it means Upper and lower case". Ah!
That introduction stuck with me, but what also stuck was that there was some
great content in each oversized issue. A few years ago, I was presented with
the proverbial pile of yellowing newsprint issues of U&LC (most of which I
never had owned previously) They are still impossible to store or display in
any conventional or convenient manner, but the older they get, the more
endearing they are. The magazine was created as vehicle for helping to
promote new ITC fonts, but the content made the fact that each issue was a
promotion for selling fonts secondary and not at all unwelcome. While "type"
was the focus of U&lc, the design was bold and trend setting and rarely
The new book edited by the last U&lc editor John Berry features introductory
essays by Berry, Joyce Rutter Kaye, Rhonda Rubinstein and Steven Heller. The bulk of the book includes facsimile pages of some highlight designs/articles
(reduced in size, but in all of their unretouched high acid content
newsprint glory and displayed as if they were the actual magazine splayed
with edges of the rest of the issue in sight). Most of the select articles
are include in their entirety (one unfortunately incomplete article features
Justin Howes' founders Caslon). There is an issue by issue cover image and content listing (a full cross referenced index would have been handy for that unwieldy pile of back issues) as well as a designers listing which
boasts an impressive line-up.
This oversized book captures just enough of the essence of actual
periodicals to make you dig out the unwieldy pile of U&lcs (if just to
finish the Caslon article) and then figure our where to store them again so
you don't forget about them...and do it soon because that crumbly newsprint
won't last much longer! Thankfully the book is bound and printed with high
quality materials and will outlive all of us. Short of having every back
issue reprinted in archival paper, this book serves well as a condensed time
capsule for the 25 years of U&lc.