Poster Details: Peanut Butter & Jelly

Peanut Butter & Jelly

Univers + Rockwell + Janson

[ Univers LT Std 45 Light + Rockwell Std Regular and Bold + Janson Text LT Std 55 Roman ]

When I was 8, I was in love with two things: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches AND baseball. I remember visiting Three Rivers stadium many times as a boy in the 1970s to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates play. I collected baseball cards and along with that love came an exposure to typography. I remember drawing the P from the Pirates hat and trying to get the letter to look just right. Now, I look at monograms on the hats of the New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets and enjoy the unique letterforms and interesting way in which they interact with each other. This became my inspiration for PB&J. I wanted to try and combine serif, san serif and slab serif together in a harmonious and interesting monogram. And since the subject matter is peanut butter and jelly, it combines my love of baseball and sandwiches as a youngster.

Regarding my monogram, you can see I have elongated the J to enhance the design. I added the negative space in between the letters to help distinguish between the letteforms and to provide some depth to the way the they are stacked, including weaving the J in and out of the B. As for the circles surrounding the design, I wanted to create an interesting texture for the background. You could consider the circles as baseballs, I suppose.

Now some information on the history of the typefaces. Adrian Frutiger, an all-star type designer, created Univers in 1956. An amazing typeface, it features numerous weights and styles, using a numbering system that would make a baseball statistician proud.

Rockwell was designed in 1910 by the Inland Type Foundry, the same year that the Philadelphia Athletics won the World Series over the Chicago Cubs. Inland was the first foundry to give all of their typefaces a standard baseline (no pun intended, baseball fans).

Finally, the origin of Janson Text features a case of mistaken identity. For years, everyone thought it was designed by Anton Janson, a Dutchman. (Speaking of a Dutchman, Honus Wagner was one of the greatest shortstops in the history of baseball and a Pirate, no less, and was known as the Flying Dutchman.) However, it was actually a Hungarian, Nicolas Kis, who designed the typeface in 1690. The Stempel foundry in Germany designed Janson based on Kis’s original matrices and Linotype digitized the typeface in 1985. You can buy it from Adobe today. (One last allusion to baseball: Al Hrabosky was a pitcher in the major leagues in the 1970s. His nickname: the Mad Hungarian.)

I still enjoy a good peanut better and jelly sandwich now and then, especially on soft white bread. Let’s hear it for Team PB&J!


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