Centidot Contempora (ry) from Photo-Lettering

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Hello everybody,

Some months ago I stumbled upon an example of a typeface called Centidot Contempora (no, there is no "-ry" suffix in the word) in a Photo-Lettering catalogue. There is a confusing O*W*M* acronym underneath the name but no trace of the author. The typeface in question is a marvel of fine strokes and ball terminals. 

I am curious as to trace the origins and authorship of this typeface. Although it has a sort of sparkly, ritzy, friendly vibe, I can't really say it is some derivation of Century, another type I feel drawn to.

Is there any way to get/buy/find this typeface and to credit its author? 

Thank you in advance.

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  • Fiz de la Peña
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    Photo-Lettering’s Centidots combine Century-like shapes with Didot hairlines. Centidot Contempora is shown in the Alphabet Thesaurus, Vol. 2 (1965) in 5 numbered weights, without designer credits. It was preceded by Coryn Centidot, drawn by C.E. Coryn (1893–1983). The fact that Centidot Contempora’s name isn’t preceded by the designer’s family name suggests it was produced by the staff of Photo-Lettering, Inc. And as it was derived from an existing idea, no individual designer got credit.

    O*W*M stands for

    • Original handlettered design”, read: not a direct adaptation of an existing (foundry, wood, or film) typeface.
    • “This style also available in other Handlettered Weights and/or Widths/italics/outlines etc.”, read: if you need a heavier, lighter, wider, narrower variant of this, we can cater to that.
    • Micro showing of figures and any alternates are listed by style number on p.833–925 in Vol.2.”
    As far as I know, there is no digitization available. The PLINC assets were acquired by House Industries in 2013. They have released a different Didot-related design by Coryn, see Coryn (Galaxy) Didot. The digital version was designed by Tânia Raposo. You could inquire whether there are plans to revive Centidot Contempora, too.
    Thank you so, so very much for the sheer wealth of information!
  • Florian Hardwig
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    You’re welcome! In the meantime, you could always look into other stylistically related typefaces, especially such that are made for larger application sizes. Not the same as Centidot Contempora, but maybe close enough? For example, see Mort Modern, Eames Century Modern, Trivia Serif, Zahrah.
  • Fiz de la Peña
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    You’re welcome! In the meantime, you could always look into other stylistically related typefaces, especially such that are made for larger application sizes. Not the same as Centidot Contempora, but maybe close enough? For example, see Mort Modern, Eames Century Modern, Trivia Serif, Zahrah.
    Thanks again for all the information- so many possibilities! I know -and own- Eames Century Modern but I find it lacking that something extra I just couldn't describe. I am looking for something that has all those fresh, innocent, playful connotations yet manages to convey a sense of sophistication as well... without ever getting into into the hackneyed 50s and 60s Bodoni/Didot advertising territory.

    I do love the work of House Industries and own some of their specimens, but lately I feel a bit of a disconnection when presented with the Eameses flat-colored aesthetic, which probably means my infatuation with a good graphic punch is diminishing.

    I guess I have to keep looking...  :smiley: