U&lc ceased print publication in the fall of 1999. Over its almost 27 years in hardcopy form, it inspired, informed and delighted readers. In the process, U&lc won over 100 awards for design and typographic excellence from the AIGA, Society of Publication Designers, Type Directors Club, and many other prestigious organizations.
U&lc’s tenure was marked by powerful – sometimes brash and always stirring – typographic design. The publication bristled with life and energy. The graphic design community – in addition to illustrators, photographers and calligraphers – eagerly anticipated each issue. However, even though U&lc was celebrated for its strength and dynamism, it was also fragile.
U&lc was dependent upon the understanding and financial support of someone who truly understood the value of the publication. Aaron Burns, one of the co-founders of ITC and the genius behind U&lc, was that person. Burns was also a savvy and gifted marketer. Decades before terms like “pragmatic marketing” and “buyer persona profiles” became popular, he understood that the best way to market a product or service was to reach out in an engaging and personal way to the ultimate consumers of those products and services. ITC licensed typeface designs to font providers – but Burns knew that his ultimate customers were graphic designers. Burns also knew that not all good marketing efforts can be directly linked to bottom line profits. At over one million dollars a year (in 1970s and 1980s money) U&lc was expensive to produce – and it’s advertising sales didn’t come close to paying for the publication. Burns, however, understood the true business value of U&lc and was fond of saying, “We don’t make money with U&lc – we make it because of U&lc.”
When Burns sold ITC in the late 1980s, its new owners presented themselves as smart business people. Maybe they were, but they were clueless about the value of U&lc. All they saw were its costs – and diligently sought to eliminate them. Over the next few years, this led to reducing the publication’s page count, then to downsizing from U&lc robust tabloid dimensions to a modest 8.5 X 11 inches, and ultimately to the cessation of publication.
U&lc was a vehicle to announce new ITC typefaces and showcase old ones, in addition to serving as a palette for virtuoso typography from the likes of Herb Lubalin, B. Martin Pedersen, Ellen Shapiro, Roger Black, Push Pin Studio, Pentagram and Why Not Associates, just to name a few. U&lc rejoiced in exceptional typographic design. Although there have been many attempts, no publication as been quite like it. To this day we continue to receive requests to provide back issues and re-publish particularly exceptional articles – which is why we scanned the issues we had, and undertook this series of blog posts.
Unfortunately, we do not have every issue of U&lc. We’re missing a couple. We are, however, getting those that are missing, and will add them to the PDFs we have already made available.
It has been a joy for me, these last couple of years, to walk down U&lc’s memory lane with you. I hope that you have enjoyed receiving the issues and reading the posts, as much as I have enjoyed bringing them to you.
The illustrations accompanying this post are the covers of the last big issue of U&lc and the first small one.
Click the PDFs below to find out what is in our remaining collection of U&lc issues.
Volume 24-1 (Low Res).pdf (6.6 MB)
Volume 24-2 (Low Res).pdf (19.5 MB)
Volume 24-4 (Low Res).pdf (4.7 MB)
Volume 25-1 (Low Res).pdf (5.0 MB)
Volume 25-3 (Low Res).pdf (5.6 MB)
Volume 25-4 (Low Res).pdf (6.1 MB)
Volume 26-2 (Low Res).pdf (5.6 MB)
Volume 24-1.pdf (34.5 MB)
Volume 24-2.pdf (96.4 MB)
Volume 24-4.pdf (19.2 MB)
Volume 25-1.pdf (18.3 MB)
Volume 25-3.pdf (21.5 MB)
Volume 25-4.pdf (25.6 MB)
Volume 26-2.pdf (23.3 MB)