Little, Brown Ditches Bulfinch Monument, Debuts New Logo

lb 042409 Little, Brown Ditches Bulfinch Monument, Debuts New Logo For the first time in more than 70 years, Little, Brown and Co. introduced a new logo this morning for its adult and children’s divisions. Comprised of an “L” and a “B” made to look as though taken from the keyboard of an antique typewriter, the new logo was designed by the typographer Lance Hidy, whose work Little, Brown publisher Michael Pietsch first encountered in the late 1970s.

Mr. Pietsch said in an email that Little, Brown’s previous logo depicted the Bulfinch Monument, a Revolutionary War monument that has stood since 1790 atop Beacon Hill in Boston, where Little, Brown used to be based. (The Adult Group moved to New York in 1990; the Children’s Group followed in 2002.)

“It is not a monument familiar to many—even in Boston—and  Megan Tingley (publisher of Little Brown Books for Young Readers) and I were both dissatisfied with how poorly the old logo worked in various circumstances,” Mr. Pietsch said. “It became almost invisible at small sizes—in ads, for instance, and online—and often it appeared without the company name, signifying nothing. We agreed to work together on a new logo as the two divisions had always shared one.”

Mr. Pietsch said the typewriter keys, which are set in a font called Silica, are meant to honor Little, Brown’s “focus on writers and writing, and on our long history.” 

“Even in the modern era when no one uses a typewriter,” Mr. Pietsch said, “everyone still uses a keyboard so the idea seemed both classic and timeless.”

Sumner Stone, the typographer who created the Silica typeface, said in an interview that he came up with the design in the early 1990s. He said it was the first typeface he designed entirely on a computer screen. “Hence the name,” he said.

Mr. Stone said Silica belongs to a group of typefaces known as “humanistic slab serif.” According to Mr. Stone, another font that belongs to that group is used to display text on the Amazon Kindle e-reader.