This Week's SPD Guest Editor: Robin Benson

POST_ICON_BENSON.jpg[A note from the SPD Grids Editors: This is the second in our ongoing series of Guest Editors. Robin Benson is a longtime UK magazine art director who edits and produces the Past Print blog, which features rich collections of magazine covers and pages from the 1950s-80s. Robin will be sharing treasures from his collection along with smart commentary during the coming week. We're very happy and grateful to have his generous contributions to the SPD site.]

By Robin Benson / Editor, Past Print
The SPD have graciously let me guest edit the site for the next five days. My training as a longtime magazine designer was basically learned on the job. I'm from the lead type era when a type-scale and line-counter were extensions of every designer's hands. I got my first publication job way back in 1961 for a company producing house journals. My first Art Editor job was in 1969 on the Illustrated London News and I stayed as an AD (with a few ups and downs) on several titles until I took early retirement in the mid-90s. 
      I've always had a passion for publications and in particular typography. While studying at the London College of Printing I bought, with a friend, an old Albion proofing press (Google it) with print area of about 15 by 12 inches. Second-hand wood-type alphabets were dirt cheap and we stocked up on a lot them and bought some lead type (including Monotype Grotesk 215 and 216 and a font of 24point Standard Medium). We never used all this to make any money; we just liked messing around with a composing stick and type with the downside that it had to be put back in type case.
      The publication bug really got me as I started to collect magazines (plus any other print that looked pretty cool). Fortunately I saved plenty of this and in 2011 started my Past Print blog, where twen, Quality, McCall's and many other magazines are available for you to look at. I'm going to share these with you for the next five days, plus my thoughts on magazine design and art direction.


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