TypeTalk: U&lc Magazine Retrospective part 4, Innovative Headline Treatments


Our retrospective of the groundbreaking U&lc (Upper and lowercase) magazine continues with a look back at some of this iconic magazine’s innovative headline treatments. U&lc was the award-winning typographic journal published by International Typeface Corporation (ITC) from 1970 to 1999 created to showcase the ITC typeface library, in addition to serving as a palette for virtuoso typography and exceptional typographic design. Originally edited and designed by Herb Lubalin until his death in 1981, U&lc went on to feature an assemblage of prominent designers who used this unique typographic platform to create some of the most expressive, experimental, and stimulating typography of the times.

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One of the most important elements of a piece, whether it be a book cover, magazine spread, or poster, is the headline. It should both attract interest, as well as draw the viewer in further. Herb Lubalin was know for his expressive and dynamic headline treatments, in which he often bent and even broke the rules of the typography. Herb, and those designers who followed him within the pages of U&lc, had complete creative license, the only caveat being they had to stick with the typefaces from the ITC library. This extreme freedom to deviate from the confines of any branding, corporate style, or design guidelines, allowed for some very original, imaginative, and unconventional (at that time) creative expression.

The examples below showcase some of the most expressive and inspiring examples of headline treatments from the pages of U&lc

This headline says it all: Herb Lubalin wasn’t afraid to bash the type, as well as smash the rules of typography and design within the pages of U&lc, inspiring and setting the precedent for those who followed him within the pages of U&lc. U&lc, Vol. 25, No. 1, 1998.


Perfect examples of bashing the rules are running a vertical headline across the fold (top), as well as hyphenating a word on a cover (bottom). U&lc, Vol. 18, No. 3, 1991 and U&lc, Vol. 17, No. 1, 1990.


Type that interacts with – and therefore becomes part of – an illustration is a technique that was often seen in the pages of U&lc. This treatment helps integrate, and sometimes animate the type with the image. U&lc, Vol. 9, No. 1, 1982 and U&lc, Vol. 9, No. 3, 1982.


This approach can be seen in these two pages, either with the jigsaw-like grid employing two type styles to emphasize the word HATE (top), or by flopping the F which follows the E to create a typographic pun of sorts, mimicking righties and lefties (bottom). U&lc, Vol. 12, No. 4, 1986 and U&lc, Vol. 16, No. 2, 1989.


These two spreads incorporate the substitution of a character in each headline with a graphic element, helping to integrate the title with the text, as well as the overall layout. U&lc, Vol. 15, No. 1, 1988 and U&lc, Vol. 24, No. 4, 1998.



Playful headline treatments in these two spreads which transition from black and white to the color signature, expressively illustrate the titles of each. Notice the abundance of white space on both spreads, which helps draw your eyes directly to the titles. U&lc, Vol. 11, No. 2, 1984 and U&lc, Vol. 12, No. 1, 1985.


The headlines in these two articles are styled, scaled, and stepped to imitate and integrate with the story as well as the overall design treatment. U&lc, Vol. 22, No. 3, 1995 and U&lc, Vol. 18, No. 1, 1991.


Bold, colorful title treatments make a strong visual statement as well as mirror the subject matter of these articles. U&lc, Vol. 17, No. 3, 1990 and U&lc, Vol. 25, No. 3, 1998.

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All available back issues of U&lc can be downloaded in PDF format from the archive at fonts.com.


Don’t miss the previous installments of the U&lc retrospective:

Part 1 on Reinventing Tables of Contents

Part 2 on Type Taking Shape

Part 3 on Initial Letters and Words


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Ilene Strizver

Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer, writer and educator specializing in all aspects of visual communication, from the aesthetic to the technical. Her book, Type Rules! The designer’s guide to professional typography, 4th edition, has received numerous accolades from the type and design community. She conducts her widely acclaimed Gourmet Typography Workshops internationally. For more information on attending one or bringing it to your company, organization, or school, go to her site, call The Type Studio at 203-227-5929, or email Ilene at info@thetypestudio.com. Sign up for her free e‑newsletter, All Things Typographic, at www.thetypestudio.com.

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