Lustig Elements – a Kickstarter 75 Years in the Making

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I took geometry¬†my sophomore year of high school, let’s just it wasn’t my strong suit. I suppose it could’ve had something to do with the the way in which it was taught. While my friends and I had fun in class, it certainly wasn’t due to the engaging nature of the subject. Now, had it been framed in the context of typography, with it’s letterforms and shapes, I’d have been all in. That type of inspiration was definitely not coming from Sr. Clement’s class. I’d have never guessed that one day I’d be smitten with a Kickstarter campaign to fund the development of a font whose roots lay in the foundation of geometry, Lustig Elements. A font designed by Alvin Lustig in the 1930s known as Euclid is being revived as Lustig Elements by Craig Welsh and Elaine Lustig Cohen.

“Like many designers, I have been and continue to be inspired by the design and typography work of Alvin Lustig and Elaine Lustig Cohen. Based initially on reference material in “Born Modern; The Life and Design of Alvin Lustig” (Chronicle Books, 2010), co-written by Steve Heller and Elaine Lustig Cohen, I set out to revive a font originally called “Euclid.” Elaine and I have been periodically working together for 5+ years to complete the new version of the font, now called “Lustig Elements,” says Welsh.

AIGA Medalist Alvin Lustig led a very productive yet very brief life (1915-1955). As his health declined, his wife, Elaine Lustig (Cohen), began taking the lead on design projects in Alvin’s studio. After Alvin’s passing, Elaine continued forward and established a well-respected and well-deserved reputation as one of the country’s top designers – ultimately receiving the 2011 AIGA Medal.”

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Craig’s early conversations with Elaine revealed that ‘Euclid. A New Type’ was the only remaining reference to the font designed in the 1930s. From the 12 unique letterforms designed by Alvin Lustig in that short phrasing, the full Lustig Elements font was revived with the direction of Elaine Lustig Cohen. Since the initial letterforms were completed, Craig has worked to design more than 250 glyphs for the font’s digital offerings.

According to Elaine, Alvin’s inspiration for geometric letterforms was Oliver Byrne’s seminal book on Euclidean Geometry published in 1847, “The First Six Books of The Elements of Euclid.”

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What I think is so amazing, is that the letterforms are composed of combinations of only four basic shapes, apparently this was a typographic design exercise regularly practiced by Lustig.

The kickstarter campaign hopes to accomplish three goals, one of which is to create a full set of patterns from which wood type will be cut, trimmed and finished into two sets of Lustig Elements 2″ wood type at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. The production of a digital font in conjunction with P22 Type Foundry and a film short will also be produced by the kickstarter funding.

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The rewards for backers are pretty amazing including specimen sheets, notebooks, digital fonts – even a film credit! If you happen to have Studio Hinrich’s “365” Calendar, you’ll notice that Lustig Elements is the featured font for April – I was so excited when I realized that as I have the calendar on my wall!

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I for one can’t think of a more exciting project for type and designs fans – and especially struggling geomtery students. You can check out the full details on their kickstarter page and if you’re thinking about backing, hurry there’s only 10 days left!

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One Comment

  1. Pam On March 21, 2016 at 9:17 am Reply

    I’m with you Jill. Just amazed that this font was created with just four basic shapes. It’s a great project by Craig and Elaine, one that deserves to be funded.

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