That Distinctive Lawson Font

I’ve heard it said by more than one person that Alfred Lawson’s books can be spotted from fifty feet away by the distinctive all-upper-case sans-serif bold font used for all his cover titles. Case in point:

I’ve tried to identify these using some online tools, but none resulted in a perfect match. The title font above is very close to a heavy variant of Franklin Gothic, originally designed in 1904.

Other Lawson titles use a very similar but thicker sans serif font, close to what is today known as Fuller Sans DT, an homage to font designer Morris Fuller Benton.

Benton’s work dates to about the same time period, the first decade of the 20th century. Sans serif fonts exploded in popularity in the first decades of the 20th century, and came to be associated with modernism and the avant garde. Like so much else about A. W. Lawson’s writings, it turns out that his preferred fonts have a contextual link to the times he lived in.

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