Both my parents were graphic designers. My dad worked primarily with publication design and my mom did children’s illustration for everything from coloring books to calendars and beyond. They had a studio at the house, so I was constantly exposed to all the direct mail and magazines that related to the industry. One publication in particular that has always stuck with me is U&lc (Upper and lower case.) it arrived, if I remember right, quarterly, and after my mom and dad were done reading it I would grab it and give it a look through.
This was the mid 70’s, and that would have made me 11 or 12. Richard Nixon was still the president, with the Water Gate Scandal heating up, and people were still fascinated with men walking on the moon. And I was a type geek even back then. It was around this time ITC began publishing U&lc. I’m pretty sure we got our first issue at the house in 1974 or 75. It’s hard to remember. When it first started to arrive, I didn’t give it much thought. The thing that changed for me, was my mom gave me a job that summer doing paste up and setting type with rub-down Letraset fonts. I got my first lessons in typography, and I was hooked.
U&lc was published for 26 years. My mom and dad maintained their subscription until the very end. in the fall of 1999. While U&lc never had a huge subscription base, it did have thousands of readers and its influence can still be felt to this day. As readership grew, and printing became more affordable, U&lc switched from a 24 page black and white tabloid, to full color in 1988.
10 years after its end, ITC still gets requests for back issues of the publication, all the way back to the very beginning of its run in 1974. But because ITC has limited numbers of back issues they have been hard pressed to meet all of the requests. Thankfully that has changed. ITC has announced that they will be making every issue of U&lc available as PDF downloads available at fonts.com. Each PDF will be searchable, and available as both high res and low res versions.
Each month ITC will release a year’s worth of publications at fonts.com. The files can be rather large though, with the high res versions topping out at around 85 megabytes in size.