First published in 1902, Monotype‘s magazine The Recorder has just been relaunched with a new look and a new focus: the wider role that typography and type design play in contemporary visual culture. Designed by Luke Tonge of LIFE Agency, the first issue features a range of bold typographic layouts and illustrations from the likes of Neasden Control Centre (above)…
Orginally published by the Lanston Monotype Corporation Ltd (the company that made the machines that today’s Monotype derives its name from), The Recorder was in regular publication as a type industry magazine for around 70 years. (A couple of early covers are shown below – for a wider selection, Henning Krause has a wonderful Flickr series mainly covering the 1930s, but including one example from the 1980s.)
According to designer and art director Tonge, who worked closely with The Recorder’s editor Emma Tucker on the relaunch, the brief from Monotype was very open and “focused more on what they hoped the magazine might achieve strategically than being prescriptive around design direction.
“Because of its imposing heritage it was decided the new Recorder should be very much its own thing, with a radical new look to match its expanded remit,” he says. “That actually helped remove some of the pressure and is, as you can imagine, a type-obsessed print-designers dream brief!”
Volume five of The Recorder from 1906. According to Monotype, this cover design was in use for the first twenty years of the title
Volume 21 of The Recorder from 1932 – showcasing Times New Roman
“Type of course engages us all daily on many levels, yet is also a complex and nuanced subject, so my hope was to draw people in with a very accessible style and then keep them engaged through original high quality content,” Tonge says. “Our potential audience is huge, so we were mindful not to dumb-down in attempting to appeal more broadly.”
The magazine runs to over 100 pages as is published as a limited print run – sewn-bound with a foil blocked cover. While published by Monotype – and incorporating fonts from its libraries – The Recorder is editorially independent; the idea being that the new remit will be one of exploring type as a wider discipline.
Indeed, the variety of content, from features, profiles, opinions and essays is reflected in the aesthetics, Tonge explains. “Much as I love highly controlled and minimal design, I’ve always been a big believer in letting content influence the layout and visual tone of a piece – so expect each issue to look quite different from the next, and to surprise.”
The Recorder is printed on Mohawk Superfine Eggshell Ultrawhite and features two ‘throw-out’ sections. It is available for purchase from recordershop.monotype.com ($17 or around £11 from the UK).