"X" (U.S.A.) / c. 1954

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Design: A giant 'X' in the Victorian-era wood-type style often seen on period posters. The Victorians indulged in wild experimentation with traditional letterforms, taking them to every extreme; here, what originally began as softly-bracketed serifs (found at the end of the main strokes) are first thickened into geometric 'block' shapes and then their weight doubled or tripled, thus making them the primary feature of the letterform instead of the least significant. Ornamental outlines, inlines, shadows, stripes, dots, flowers and decoration of every description provided more avenues of fantasy for type foundries to explore in their quest for visual appeal in the midst of what was becoming, by the end of the 19th century, a welter of advertising. Likewise, basic letterform proportions went anywhere from 'ultra-condensed' to 'wide expanded,' as here.

History: A subsidiary of industry giant RCA Victor, the "X" label, in existence between about 1954 and 1956, underwent a name-change to Vik (with similar graphic treatment of the logo), and would survive into the 45 rpm era of the 1960s. Label scan courtesy of collector John Anderson of the U.S.A.

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