from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1915, No. 274

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1915, No. 274

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1915, No. 278

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1915, No. 278

Before Sports Illustrated, Life and the image-based version of National Geographic (can you believe it began as a text-based academic publication?), Puerto Rico had it’s very own image-based weekly: Puerto Rico Ilustrado.

It was published from March 6th 1910 through December 27th 1952, a length of time during which it amassed a collection of 2227 issues. Content wise, the pages primarily chronicled life in the island, while it also included writings and images on international events of the time.It is interesting to observe, as one moves chronologically from issue to issue, how the initial international focus into Spanish news slowly got supplanted by an American one. Some events, due to their importance, took over some entire issues. The World Wars and the demolition of the Old Door to San Juan are two such examples. On average, these were about 16 pages, with about 6 of them dedicated to advertisements (which are fabulous in their own right). It was printed on a kind of dull paper, originally in black and white, but slowly 2 color printing makes its way into the covers. In the later years, covers are then produced in full color (which in many ways diminished the visual impact of earlier compositions)

During the last few weeks I have been scanning directly from about 15 years worth of issues, and the more I look at it the more I marvel at the typography contained in the mastheads of the issues, particularly their visual exploration which shows a struggle between looking man-made and machine-made, with an observed preference on the former.

My study on this publication is only beginning, but I have scanned a series of typographic treatments from a few years’ worth of the publication to begin a process of sharing them.

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1915, No. 274

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1915, No. 274

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1916, No. 315

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1916, No. 315

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1916, No. 318

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1916, No. 318

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1921, No. 569

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1921, No. 569

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1922, No. 661

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1922, No. 661

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1923, No. 657

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1923, No. 657

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1923, No. 681

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1923, No. 681

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1923, No. 700

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1923, No. 700

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1924, No. 750

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1924, No. 750

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1926, No. 826

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1926, No. 826

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1926, No. 832

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1926, No. 832

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1926, No. 833

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1926, No. 833

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1926, No. 834

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1926, No. 834

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1926, No. 837

from Puerto Rico Ilustrado, 1926, No. 837

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7 Responses to Looking at the typography of an image-based publication: Puerto Rico Ilustrado

  1. Hi Alberto – I’ve linked this to our Type III blog; the students have just finished a typeface and will do a mag masthead soon. Thanks.

  2. I wonder if Lorenzo Homar ever got a chance to look at these. His calligraphic style was so diverse.

  3. I’m curious about the scanned images. Are you scanning entire issues? Are they available online?

    • ajrigau says:

      Hello Holly. Sorry for the late reply on your comment, but I had not seen it before. Sadly, I am not scanning issues, just particular images. The work is very time consuming, specially when one takes into account the delicate nature of the old paper. I honestly don’t know if there is a digital collection in the archives of the local public university, but I have go soon to them and I will check and let you know.

  4. Hi, I don’t know if it still exists, but around 1998-1999, when I was doing my art history tesina in the UPR, Rio Piedras, the entire collection of Puerto Rico Ilustrado was available as “microfichas” in the Coleccion Puertorriquena, 2nd floor at the Biblioteca Lazaro.

  5. Fatima Seda says:

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I have a different idea for the reason “El Puerto Rico Ilustrado” mixed standard type and manually designed type. Even today, in the digital era, very few programs can do geometrical figures in type. During the first decades of the XXth century, newspapers and magazines in Puerto Rico were made with lead type. Therefore, it was virtually impossible to alter a regular typeface. That is when our talented graphic artists shared their knowledge and expertise with the magazines. Another great example was “Alma Latina”.

  6. Hello I and other students are looking for PR Ilustrado of 1912 the real copies… any help would be appreciated !
    Thank You,
    Dariusz Krupinski

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