Here’s Domino used on the French version of John Travolta’s 1977 album Whenever I’m Away From You (released in the US with a different track order and artwork as Can’t Let You Go). The display face with the circle-and-cut counters is reminiscent of clothespins, certainly in the capitals. The outlined letterforms were filled with a yellow to pink gradient in this use.
Domino was first shown in Mecanorma’s New Types No. 3, 1972, together with Neo Script, the other typeface by French designers J.C. & M. Demarchi. The Graphis issue from November 1972 sheds some light on the way such dry transfer faces were sourced:
Every two months the projects contributed by graphic designers from various nations are examined by a specialized commission. More than 300 type creations have been received. Those considered best suited to modern graphic needs are then issued in the form of transfer letters. The creator of the selected typeface receives a royalty of Fr. 0.15 for each sheet sold. Due to the well-organized distribution network of Mecanorma, the artist may receive anything between Fr. 2,000 [ca. 400 USD then] and Fr. 10,000 or more per year. Each New Types edition, which is published several times a year, is extremely well advertised. The name of the designer, printed with the type he has created on the respective folder, is therefore assured of a wide circulation. It is still too early to know what the reaction of the public to the competition results will be. However, it is to be hoped that the initiative will encourage typographical creation, a sector of the graphic arts which has been too long neglected.
Domino’s success didn’t last for more than a few years. It’s not included in a Mecanorma catalog from 1974. As far as I can tell, the face hasn’t made its way into the digital age yet.
Nice background on Mecanorma! They should be mentioned along with ITC for changing the way type designers are compensated. I wonder how their royalty structure compared to Letraset.
Letraset also paid competition winners royalties for every sheet sold, at least at this period. I don’t know the exact amount, nor whether this applied to their staff designers, too. I hope to find information like this is in the new book by Unit Editions.
Here’s the other Mecanorma face by the Demarchis, Neo Script, in use on a Belgian sleeve for John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John’s “Summer Nights”, together with Churchward Design 70, or Galaxy, as Mecanorma named their version.
According to a letter reproduced in David Bennewith’s monograph about Joseph Churchward, Mecanorma-Polyvroom B.V. (NL) sold 17,597 sheets of Churchward’s typefaces in the first half year of 1976, amounting to ƒ21,116.40. The designer was paid ten percent, ƒ2,111.64.
Contributed by Manuel Wesely
Contributed by Florian Hardwig
Contributed by Nick Sherman