Born in New York in 1927, Ed grew up in Brooklyn. He died in 2020. Ed was once a very prominent jazz percussionist playing in several big bands with Stan Kenton and Woody Herman, among others. He has created a large number of typefaces between 1970 and 1995. About his career, he once said: I'm really a musician, a jazz percussionist. One day I went to the musician's union to pay dues and I saw all these old people who were playing bar mitzvahs and Greek weddings. It occurred to me that one day that's going to be me, so I decided to become an illustrator. He designed more than 400 typefaces for PhotoLettering. He played a critical role in establishing The International Typeface Corporation (or ITC) in the late '60s and early '70s. Founded in 1971 by designers Herb Lubalin, Aaron Burns, and Ed Ronthaler, ITC was formed to market type to the industry. Lubalin and Burns contacted Benguiat, whose first ITC project was working on Souvenir. Ed became a partner with Lubalin in the development of U&lc, ITC's famous magazine, and the creation of new typefaces such as Tiffany, Benguiat, Benguiat Gothic, Korinna, Panache, Modern No. 216, Bookman, Caslon No. 225, Barcelona, Avant Garde Condensed, and many more. With Herb Lubalin, Ed eventually became vice-president of ITC until its sale to Esselte Ltd.
Ed Benguiat taught at SVA in New York for more than fifty years.
Ed is a popular keynote speaker at major type meetings, including, e.g., at TypeCon 2011, where he entertained the crowd with quotes such as I do not think of type as something that should be readable. It should be beautiful. Screw readable. His typefaces---those from PhotoLettering excepted:
- ITC Avant Garde Gothic (1971-1977, with Andre Gurtler, Tom Carnase, Christian Mengelt, and Erich Gschwind).
- ITC Modern No. 216 (1982: a didone text family). The Softmaker versions are called M791 Modern and Montpellier. Ed writes: It's a revival of the classic British Modern design. I tried to capture the dignity and grace of the original designs, but not make it look stuffy. Moderns were often numbered to distinguish different versions. 216 East 45th street was where I worked when I drew the ITC Modern No. 216 font.
- Modern No. 20, after the Stephenson Blake original from 1905. [Image by Kristen Cleghorn]
- ITC Barcelona (1981). Ed writes: I was one of the design consultants for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. What could be more appropriate then to design a typeface for the event? The design of the ITC Barcelona font family, with its soft triangular serifs set the mood for the soft-spoken Catalan people.
- ITC Bauhaus (1974-1975). ITC Bauhaus was co-designed with Victor Caruso. The Softmaker versions are called R790 Sans and Dessau. The Infinitype version is Dessau. The Bitstream version is Geometric 752.
- ITC Benguiat (1977) and ITC Benguiat Gothic (1977-1979). This eponymous comic book (or art nouveau style) typeface family appeared in the 1980s on the covers of Stephen King novels and Choose Your Own Adventure books, in the copyright notice at the beginning of all Paramount Pictures' VHS tapes and in title sequences for Quentin Tarantino's films, the Next Generation series of Star Trek films in the mid-to-late '90s, and the recent Netflix series Stranger Things. It was revived as Benjamin and Benjamin Gothic on the SoftMaker MegaFont XXL CD (2002). Softmaker also has fonts called B693 Roman and B691 Sans that are identical. Benguiat Pro ITC was published in 2008.
- Benguiat Roman (1960s).
- PL Bernhardt (Photo-Lettering, 1970), modeled after a 1930-1931 design by Lucian Bernhard.
- ITC Bookman (1975). See B791 Roman on the SoftMaker MegaFont XXL CD (2002).
- Calendar (1960s).
- ITC Caslon 224 (1983). In 1960, he added Benguiat Caslon Swash, and in 1970, Caslon 223 followed. See C790 Roman on the SoftMaker MegaFont XXL CD (2002), and Caslon CP (2012, Claude Pelletier). Christian Schwartz and Bas Smidt at House Industries digitized Benguiat Caslon.
- ITC Century Handtooled (1993).
- ITC Cheltenham Handtooled (1993).
- ITC Edwardian Script (1994).
- ITC Garamond Handtooled.
- ITC Korinna (1974): after a 1904 typeface called Korinna by Berthold. Michael Brady thinks it is very close to the Berthold original.
- Laurent (1960s).
- Lubalin Graph (1974, ITC). By Herb Lubalin, Ed Benguiat, Joe Sundwall, and Tony DiSpigna.
- ITC Panache (1987-1988). Ed writes: I put my heart, soul, sweat and tears into the design of the ITC Panache font family. I was striving to create an easy to read, legible typeface. I know in my heart that I accomplished what I set out to do. Not only is it easy to read, it's also sophisticated.
- Scorpio (1960s).
- ITC Souvenir. Kent Lew: Benguiat revived Benton's Souvenir for ITC in the '70s and that was well-received for a while. On the other hand, look what happened after that. Souvenir in the ATF 1923 catalog looks really nice, IMO. Souvenir in the '70s seems cliché now. Souvenir these days would be downright dorky. Souvenir was done by Benguiat in 1967 at PhotoLettering. Morris Fuller Benton's original model was from 1914. It was described by Simon Loxley as follows: Souvenir is a typeface that is intractably rooted in style to a particular era, although one a half-century after its creation. It is a quintessential late 1960s and 1970s typeface, informal, with full rounded character shapes and rounded serifs, a laid-back Cheltenham. The Bitstream version of ITC Souvenir was called Sovran.
- ITC Tiffany (1974), a fashion mag typeface family. Adobe says that it is a blend of Ronaldson, released in 1884 by the MacKellar Smiths&Jordan foundry, and Caxton, released in 1904 by American Type Founders.
- PL Torino (1960, Photo-Lettering), a blackboard bold didone-inspired typeface.
- In 2004, House Industries released five typefaces based on the lettering of Ed Benguiat: Ed Interlock (1400 ligatures---based on Ed's Interlock, Photolettering, 1960s), Ed Roman (animated bounce), Ed Script, Ed Gothic and Bengbats.
- He did logotypes for many companies, including Esquire, New York Times, Playboy, Reader's Digesn, Sports Illustrated, Look, Estée Lauder, AT&T, A&E, Planet of the Apes, Super Fly.
- Lesser known Photolettering typefaces include Benguiat Bounce, Benguiat Boutique, Benguiat Bravado, Benguiat Brush, Benguiat Buffalo (+Ornaments: a western wood type font), Benguiat Century, Benguiat Cinema, Benguiat Congressional, Benguiat Cooper Black, Benguiat Cracle, Benguiat Crisp, Benguiat Debbie, (Benguiat) Montage (a fat face didone revived in 2018 at House Industries by Jess Collins and Mitja Miklavic), Benguiat Roman. Scorpio, Laurent and Charisma, all done in the 1960s, are psychedelic types. In 2021, Donald Roos digitized Plinc Buffalo for House Industries.
Links: Linotype, CV by Elisa Halperin. Daylight Fonts link (in Japanese). Catalog by Daylight, part I, part II.
Pics harvested from the web: Portrait With Ilene Strivzer at ATypI 1999. One more with Strivzer. With Jill Bell at ATypI 1999. In action. At TypeCon 2011 with Matthew Carter and Alejandro Paul. At the same meeting with Carole Wahler and with Roger Black.
FontShop link. Klingspor link.
View Ed Benguiat's typefaces. Ed Benguiat's fonts.
Klingspor Museum page
Type designers ⦿
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Bauhaus and type design ⦿
Avant Garde typefaces ⦿
Comic/cartoon fonts ⦿
Modern style [Bodoni, Didot, Walbaum, Thorowgood, Computer Modern, etc.] ⦿
Psychedelic types ⦿
Cooper Black ⦿
Garalde or Garamond typefaces ⦿
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Blackboard type ⦿
Art Nouveau typefaces ⦿
Western fonts ⦿
Wood Type ⦿
Photo and film type era ⦿