Ed Benguiat: New York Times

Ed Benguiat is responsible for many iconic American logos but even the most knowledgeable typographers and designers would be shocked to learn that this legend in the type world has played such a significant role in revising the New York Times masthead.

 

According to Andrew Shalat from Macworld, Benguiat took it upon himself to edit one of the most recognizable newspaper mastheads in America —by hand. When asked how he accomplished this great task he responded, “One hundred pen points, straight edges, freehand and a lot of freehand (Shalat).”

 

His initial task, given by art director Lou Silverstein, was to completely change the New York Times logo. Benguiat refuted and voiced, “if we change it, nobody will recognize it.” His wisdom paid off and he is now credited for beautifully updating the type of America’s own New York Times (Shalat).

 

Benguiat’s edits of the New York Times masthead may not be recognizable to the average eye but the revisions definitely left a fresh new take for the brand. According to my father John Bomparte, who apprenticed under Benguiat for a number of years, if you take the two versions and place them side by side you can identify the differences. Bomparte explains, “Prior to 1966, the Masthead for the venerable New York Times featured a period at the end of “Times.” In addition to removing the period, Ed also optimized the letter spacing and made some minor refinements to the shapes of this “Black Letter” style.” Other revises include the thinning portions of the original letters due to the anticipated ink spread when the ink is transferred onto newsprint paper. Additionally, letter spacing was revised to feature tighter kerning. Without these edits the New York Times Masthead would lack its iconic flavor (Bomparte).

Goldenrod of New York Times Masthead (1960s & 70s)

Although Ed Benguiat has never been completely satisfied with anything he has designed,  he has a special appreciation for his logos and especially his revisions of the New York Times masthead. He treasures logos as “keepsakes in my mind so when I walk down the street I can say, ‘Hey, I did that.’ You know. I’m very proud of it. When I see the New York Times on a building, on a wall, I can look up and say, ‘That’s my logo!’ So that’s my contribution to society (Vincent).”

Ed Benguiat’s contribution edits of the New York Times is appreciated in the world of design and for fans of the New York Times. The revisions completed the newspaper brand and is highly recognized today.

 

Bibliography

Bomparte, John. Personal communication. 5 April 2018.

 

Shalat, Andrew. “A Font of Information.” Macworld, Macworld, 1 Apr. 2001,

www.macworld.com/article/1002078/25benguiat.html.

 

Vincent, Alice. “Stranger Things: Meet the Design Genius behind TV’s Most Talked about Title

Font.” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 4 Aug. 2016, www.telegraph.co.uk/on-demand/0/stranger-things-meet-the-design-genius-behind-tvs-most-talked-ab/.