Ed Benguiat, Man of a Thousand [Type] Faces, 1924-2020

Saddened to hear of the passing of one of my design heroes, Ed Benguiat, man of a thousand typefaces. His namesake font was used for the opening image, satirized here, of the TV series Stranger Things.

Ed was my teacher at SVA right when the Benguiat typeface was published. The purpose of the class was to sketch typefaces recognizably and quickly for ad layouts. Computers replaced this art. I became hooked on typography and committed to a design career. Ed had a lot of sass and funny stories. He had great skill and taught us to design using found objects — for instance, paint spatters from a squirrel hair brush were used as periods in a certain font. He showed us a short movie about modernizing the New York Times masthead by hand. Before computers, he hand-ruled and painted the ornate lettering into its more modern interpretation.

Around two years ago I was able to find Ed, emailed him and then we had several great phone calls about design. He (wisely) refused to critique the work of designers who sought him out, but I think he enjoyed looking at it.

Read Ed’s New York Times obituary.

– David Schiffer, president, DLS Design

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