(x) Alvin Toffler "Future Shock" book cover - Embrionic {Mark S}

modernactivity's picture

Morning all...

I have a old copy of Alvin Toffler's book 'Future Shock', and would love to find out what typeface is used for the title block... very seventies, and rather beautiful...

thanks for any assistance!

Matt Appleton

Mark Simonson's picture

It's a very rarely used face (at least I've rarely seen it) from the Seventies called Embrionic. As far as I know, there were only two weights--this one (Embrionic 55) and an extra bold weight (Embrionic 85). I've only ever seen a complete showing of the bolder weight. According to an old Zipatone rub-down lettering catalog, it was designed by Graphic Systems. Minor detail: The lowercase "c" has been opened up. In the stock version, the opening is about as wide as the one in the "e". Finally, as strange as it may seem, this face had a complete set of swash caps.

Bald Condensed's picture

Embrionic Flair as it were? ;^)

Mark Simonson's picture

See for yourself:

I like the swash "Z" and a few others, but the rest of the swash caps are a bit clumsy. Feels a bit like Octopuss.

modernactivity's picture

What can I say?

Once again, the typophilia of typohile.com blows me away - thanks very much for the time and info!

I would love to know if anyone has an image of the '55 weight... or better still a source for a digital cut. This book cover just got me looking at my 'Phil's Photos' Sourcebook again, and there are some great seventies sans fonts in there - Wexford and Harry to name a few... but no Embrionic.

Mark Simonson's picture

Like I said, it's a rare one. I have only seen it in two places: The Zipatone catalog from the late Seventies (sample shown above) and a one-line listing of both fonts in the Solotype Catalog, showing only the names in their respective fonts. I'm sure there exist film font catalogs which include full samples, but none in my collection.

I would be very surprised if either font has been digitized. There were a ton of typefaces (especially film fonts and rub-down alphabets) made in the Seventies that never became popular and faded into obscurity.

Bald Condensed's picture

Well, if you consider the incredible amount of time and effort needed to produce a good quality font it hardly isn't surprising that a lot of those fonts never made it to digital.

all about seb's picture

I saw this (incl. the swash characters) as vinyl lettering on a shop window in the south of Sweden today - ha, what are the odds and where was my camera... But this should mean it i somehow digitally available?

Bald Condensed's picture

Not sure -- could be.

sukramillusion's picture

so where do I find this font?

Jan's picture

> so where do I find this font?

Like Mark said, it probably hasn’t been digitized, yet.

Mark Simonson's picture

I just found another example of it in use. This is a detail from a photo I took in Seattle a few years ago:

It looks like they altered the A and I a bit.

nave's picture

Clueless on Typefaces. But, that's an Awesome Book.

Stephen Coles's picture

I've compiled some more information about Embrionic on Fonts In Use.

jch02140's picture

Sorry to bump this.

If anyone still looking for the full specimen of Embrionic 55 and 85 family, I recently acquired a specimen book which shows the full alphabets of each + 2 more styles not available in anywhere else.


The swash Q is rather different, it may be Qu ligature...

Mark Simonson's picture

Nice find! And, yes, I think that’s a /Qu/ ligature.

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