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Historical question, regarding the letter "O" in type

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  • Historical question, regarding the letter "O" in type

    Hello! Just surfin' by... Since I once had an avid interest in graphic design and still admire it (though I never had quite enough creative abilities to do it as a job), I wanted to ask a question I have been wondering about for some time.

    I have seen a recurring GD text theme for some time, where the letter "O" in a title or banner is set about half size, often accompanied by a triangle or other dingbat underneath it. Examples include the album cover for Holy Water by Bad Company and a Nikola Tesla commemorative t-shirt (image viewable at http://www.ntesla.org/F98.JPG .)

    I was wondering if anyone is aware of the historical significance of the size reduction of the "o" and accompanying marks. I know a lot of GD standards are rooted in history - it always is fascinating to learn how certain things come about.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    I wouldn't have any idea, but I would imagine it comes from the early stages of poster designs for things like "World Fair" and "Barnum and Bailey Circus" of course im going out on a limb here. not sure who or when it started to first appear.
    ‘Our great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately controlled. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world. No government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of small groups of men.’ - Woodrow Wilson

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    • #3
      There are some Art Nouveau fonts that are like this. I guess Art Nouveau fonts are making a come back?


      This font called Rennie Mackintosh has the note attached to it:
      Based on the handwriting and drawings of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, an Art Nouveau architect and designer who worked in Glasgow, Scotland.



      And this font called Willow says this:
      A font in the Viennese Secessionist style, inspired by the work of Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
      So naturally, this search leads to here and here.
      Last edited by Buda; 12-13-2007, 05:26 PM.
      It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" – Winnie the Pooh

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      • #4
        nice finds buda!
        ‘Our great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately controlled. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world. No government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of small groups of men.’ - Woodrow Wilson

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        • #5
          I also vaguely remember that the famous Jeff Fisher had an o like that in at least 1 of his logos...
          It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" – Winnie the Pooh

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          • #6
            Ahah!

            What Nots and Word Wright logos done by Jeff Fisher have those o's. Must be cool then!
            It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" – Winnie the Pooh

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            • #7
              It would be nice to know the name of the "accompanying mark". Thats a great question, Desert Tripper. I can only imagine that the purpose of the mark, apart from being decorative, was to differentiate the o from 0, but there is no practical reason for this. I can't see any instance where the two would be used together, unless there is some sort of currency thing.
              I work while you are all asleep...

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              • #8
                I just had a thought; it might be a curious relic of a mixed alphabet, i.e. the latin alphabet.

                I think it is most likely just a decorative element.
                I work while you are all asleep...

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                • #9
                  Willow is one of my favourite typefaces! Of course, that could be the Art Nouveau bias talking.

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                  • #10
                    it's like half an umlaut but underneath so i propose
                    'underlaut'
                    and when it's more than just a spot or little square
                    'transmogrified underlaut'
                    The beginning is always today.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by captain spanky
                      it's like half an umlaut but underneath so i propose
                      'underlaut'
                      and when it's more than just a spot or little square
                      'transmogrified underlaut'
                      Have you officially coined these terms Spanky?
                      It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" – Winnie the Pooh

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by budafist
                        Have you officially coined these terms Spanky?
                        if by 'official' you mean: scribbled it on my pad with a drawing of a little german fella hiding under the word underlaut... and a german fella with big gnarly teeth and wild hair hiding under transmogrified.. then yes, it is most official.
                        The beginning is always today.

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                        • #13
                          Interesting insights!

                          And rather creative suggestions for the naming of such a mark. At least this gives me a springboard of sorts for research, and I will be sure to post any findings of interest here. Thanks... DT

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