Archive for the ‘barnbrook’ Tag

3 Types of BOO!

It’s September 1973, in Paris. You’re on a connection to catch the Orient Express.

What sound does that train make?

Paul Theroux described it as frseeeeeefronnnng.

Not “woosh”. Not “choo-choo!” It’s 1973. Real trains are noisy. But peer into print and it’s a quiet affair. The letters sit in orderly lines in their allocated pages. Not a boo to a goose. Just the odd capital, hat jutting above the crowd.

BOO! Three types of print noise.

1. The Sneak

Typical of advertising, because he knows he’s unpopular. He’s probably intruding on your conversation, so he has to do it with finesse or you’ll like him even less. As this sneak looks Brazilian it’s unsurprising that he delivers a fun “BOO!”

2. The Group BOO!

A book cover chorus here – created by Larry Guess using designs by Barnbrook. There are good nights to be had late at the V&A. And when groups worked together they could bring the noise. Ampliflied.


The anti-social BOO! Disturbs you so much you can’t remember what you were thinking, let alone make sense of the words on the page.

Not fun for you. Maybe a photo opp for someone else.

But that’s not what you want. You want a pleasant surprise. And typographers can give you that whenever they get the the sound, and the timing, just right.

On the same train of thought – The Godfather of Sans: James Brown; Test Your Type Knowledge: The Serif; Expert Ear on Wrong Noise: Leland Maschmeyer.