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More On Blackletter: A Reader Responds

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I love when you smart UnBeige readers send me email! John Gordon sent me along his musings about Blackletter in response to my post last week:</P

Read your post about Blackletter font and immediately was transported back to my young punk rock days in Los Angeles. In the late 70s and early 80s Blackletter was a very popular font among the Flipside fanzine and punk rock flyer crowd. For me it came to symbolize the first wave Los Angeles punk rock DIY aesthetic. Now, I’m sure there were some thoughts of co-option when the font was used (I mean, that’s punk rock, right?), but I remember making flyers in the days before desktop publishing and a lot of the design choices you made were about availability of resources. When it came to lettering you were pretty much limited to cutting out pre-existing letters from a magazine or newspaper for a proper ransom note look or purchasing die-cut letters at the craft shop. In those days if you were making a flyer for a punk show and you had a choice between Cooper Black and Blackletter die-cuts, there was a good chance you were going to pick Blackletter.

If you look beyond the font treatment and at the whole of the Reebok campaign you can see that same DIY punk aesthetic in the look of the ads (rough tears, photocopied look, etc.). Maybe the edgy style that Reebok and the others are trying to emulate is not a Nazi style, but the last great underground youth scene in America, punk rock.

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