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Frederic Goudy: The Titan of Type

Sat Oct 13 10:00:00 2018

Frederic Goudy: The Titan of Type

A new exhibit featuring posters highlighting the type styles by Bloomington born creator, Frederic W. Goudy (1865-1947) will open Saturday October 13 at the Museum and run through November 24. Goudy was one of America’s most prolific designers of metal type, having designed over 100 typefaces during his career. The 30 posters were created by Chicago area Graphic designer Rex Parker in celebration of the 115th anniversary of the Village Press found by Goudy in 1903. Parker will present an illustrated program, The Titan of Type, at 10 a.m opening day of the exhibit. Please join us for this intriguing history of Frederic W. Goudy!

Goudy spent his early years in Bloomington where he became interested in the arts, especially when he purchased a pantograph machine, an instrument used for copying pictures, figures, or diagrams. Goudy also won a prize at the county fair for a pencil drawing. He continued to develop his artistic creativity while his father, a school administrator moved his family around Illinois.
Goudy moved to the Chicago area about 1893 where he worked writing advertising copy and designing ads for local printers. Influenced by the work of William Morris, a leader in the English Arts and Crafts movement, in 1895 he established his first printing shop, the Camelot Press and began experimenting with type designs. After a short time, he sold that shop and moved to Detroit to work for a weekly called the Michigan Farmer. But opportunities soon drew him back to Chicago where he developed advertisements for Marshall Field’s, the Inland Printer, The Pabst Brewery, and Hart Schaffner and Marx. He also designed book covers for The Lakeside Press and Rand-McNally.

In 1903, ready to focus on designing his own typefaces, he established the Village Press in Park Ridge, Illinois, and created his first full fine book face type (not just the few letters needed for an advertisement). The Village Type was the very first American typeface to be cut and cast from free hand, original drawings from a type designer. At the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair would be awarded a bronze medal for printing.

Goudy moved the business twice, finally settling in New York City in 1906. There he focused on the work of type design, creating Kennerly Old Style in 1911. The type was designed specifically for the publication of H.G. Wells’ The Door in the Wall and other Stories. Kennerly Old Style was a hit in England and through it Goudy suddenly became associated internationally with great type design. It would take some years more for his work to become recognized in American. But with his energies devoted to type design, he was well on his way, producing variations of Kennerly, as well as Forum Title, Sherman, Goudy Lanston, Goudy Roman, and Klaxon by 1914. In 1918 he founded the Ars Typographica magazine and in 1920 became the art director for Lanston Monotype Corporation, where he worked until his death.

Rex Parker is an American artist, designer and illustrator based in Park Ridge, Illinois. During his career his designs have helped Fortune 500 companies and other organizations increase brand awareness, expand market share and build product loyalty. While busy with his corporate clients, Parker has made time to create uniquely colorful, Art Deco-inspired collectible posters for many local service organizations and institutions. As Parker became aware of the rich art history of Park Ridge, (from the late 1800s through the Depression it held world-class art colony status) he began to produce poster series related to that history. As a graphic designer, Goudy was one of Parker’s heroes. With The Village Press among the art colony’s businesses, a Frederic Goudy poster series was inevitable. Come take a look at this beautiful series of posters, which celebrate the expansive work of one of Bloomington’s own!

For more information about this free, public program, please contact the Museum at 309-827-0428. Free parking will be available at the Lincoln Parking Deck, located one block south of the Museum on Front Street.

Exhibit-related Program

Frederic Goudy: The Titan of Type