Ed Benguiat

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Ed Benguiat (2008) at a conference

Ephram Edward (Ed) Benguiat (born October 27, 1927 in New York City , † October 15, 2020 in Cliffside Park ) was an American calligrapher , graphic designer and important type designer . He lived in Brooklyn .


His father was an advertising director at Bloomingdale’s . This enabled him to get hold of all work utensils at an early stage and to gain experience in the field of design. He made use of this experience for the first time in the Second World War: to join the army, he forged his birth certificate. However, this did not influence his career choice, because originally Ed Benguiat was a professional drummer with a diploma from the Brooklyn College of Music. He played under the pseudonym "Eddie Benart" in various jazz bands, among others with famous musicians such as Stan Kenton and Woody Herman .

After studying at Columbia University and the Workshop School of Advertising Art in New York, he became Associate Art Director of Esquire magazine in 1953 and opened his own design studio in the same year.

From 1962 he worked at Photolettering Inc. as Typographic Design Director . In 1970 he became Vice President of the International Typeface Corporation (ITC) founded by Herb Lubalin and Aaron Burns . He worked there with Herb Lubalin, among other things, on the in-house magazine U & Lc Upper and Lower Case , which he had a decisive influence on. His first job was as a cleavage retoucheur.

One of the most obvious features of Ed Benguiat's work as a typographer is his penchant for calligraphy and script. There are some arguments in favor of assuming a direct connection from Art Nouveau . In any case, Benguiat believed in the qualitative superiority of hand-drawn fonts. He described his way of working as that of an architect setting the plan. The implementation on the computer - i.e. the construction of the building - would be left to his employees.

Many fonts, such as Souvenir , or company logos, such as that of the New York Times , were not reinvented by Ed Benguiat, but rather revised what he thought he was best at. For him it was not only essential to put his ideas on paper by hand, but also to recognize his mistakes and to be able to eradicate them.

Ed Benguiat was still a gifted musician in his old age, which can be seen in countless analogies between music and design.

Ed Benguiat was a member of the New York Art Directors Club , Alliance Graphic International and Chairman of the Type Directors Club . Since 1961 he has taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York. There he had already led various courses, for example “Designing with type: Making TypeTalk”, “Typefacedesign” or “So you want to design a typeface (and get rich like me)”.

In addition to his work as a typographer, where he developed over 600 fonts, Ed Benguiat also designed numerous logos. The New York Times , Playboy , Reader's Digest , Sports Illustrated , Esquire , McCall’s , AT&T and Estée Lauder, among others . He designed the poster lettering for films such as Superfly and Planet of the Apes . His font Tiffany , created in 1974, was used for the lettering of the 1997 Quentin Tarantino film Jackie Brown .

Writings of Ed Benguiat

Font example: Benguiat Book from the Linotype Collection
Font example: Garamond Handtooled OsF from the Linotype Collection

Benguiat has designed more than 600 fonts. The most important are:

  • Souvenir (1970)
  • Avant Garde Gothic (1974)
  • Korinna (with Victor Caruso, 1974)
  • Tiffany (1974)
  • Bauhaus (with Victor Caruso, 1975)
  • Bookman (1975)
  • Benguiat (1977-1979)
  • Barcelona (1981)
  • Modern 216 (1982)
  • Caslon 224 (1983)
  • Panache (1988)
  • Century Handtooled (1992)
  • Cheltenham Handtooled (1992)
  • Garamond Handtooled (1992)
  • Edwardian Script (1994)

honors and awards

  • 1989 Ed Benguiat received the Type Directors Club Medal of the New York Type Directors Club , there he is also in the Hall of Fame .
  • He received the Artist Teacher Award from the School of Visual Arts .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Obituary: Ed Benguiat. Retrieved October 17, 2020 .
  2. ^ Neil Genzlinger : Ed Benguiat, a Master of Typography, Is Dead at 92. In: The New York Times . October 16, 2020, accessed October 17, 2020 .