I have already mentioned — on quite a few occasions — an eccentric typographical experiment called Sodachrome that my friend Ian Moore and I designed for our friend Rathna. Ian and I have always been very proud of Sodachrome, but as a set of fonts it's a design that is cumbersome to work with, and certainly the kind of a display typeface where a little of it goes a long way. So even though the design was finished years ago, it has languished a bit for lack of the proper outlet, aside from occasional licenses we granted (with instructions for how to deal with the tricky fonts) along the way when people asked.
Well, I'm pleased to announce that Sodachrome has finally found the perfect place to live: The Photo-Lettering collection, from my esteemed pals at House Industries. I've been a big fan of the PLINC collection and service right from the start, having awaited the launch for years after hearing the idea of it discussed at a conference.
PLINC includes a lot of superb, exuberant typefaces, but what has always been more interesting to me is its model. Rather than just offering licenses for display fonts that may only have limited utility, PLINC uses a custom-built typesetting engine to offer downloadable headline settings of just a few words at a time, much like the original Photo-Lettering company did with its massive phototype library. It's a fascinating idea, and part of what got them a nomination for the Designs of the Year at London's Design Museum.
What PLINC really accomplishes is the ability to play with colour and transparency to reveal what Sodachrome's design is about, and make it much easier to implement that typical layout software. So yay! A match made in heaven.
WHOA. It's astonishing that such a random old ad — spotted on Dionne Warlock — could tap into such a well of memory. It's not mental memory, really: I can't really recall anything about where or when I would have seen this ad. Maybe it was in that one random copy of GQ i bought when I was about 13 or 14, or a catalog we had around the house. It's kind of an emotional memory, I guess. I just remember this feeling of being utterly fascinated by these handsome men, at a point when I was way too young to make any sense of that. I stared at this picture A LOT.
I had a particular fascination with the guy on the left, who Google reminds me was Jeff Aquilon, a dude who is apparently considered one of the first male supermodels. He's certainly handsome, but in a way that doesn't inspire the same vivid reaction it did back when I didn't quite even know what attraction felt like. It's so weird to be reminded, in a gut sort of way, what that was like.
Oh! But here's another ad I similarly recall, with a different guy, from the same source:
I bet I kept these in a scrapbook at one point. I can't really remember, but I'm sure I must have had something like that when I was a wee lad.
Update: Another! 1983? Sounds about right. These must have all come from the same magazine, and I must have had one from the same time, if not the same magazine. This is really all too vivid.