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The type of Rolling Stone

The early days at Rolling Stone

Art directors John Williams and Lloyd Ziff reflect on the early years of Rolling Stone.

If I had known that I was dealing with history, I would have paid more attention.

Art director, 1967-1968, still living in San Francisco, John Williams became a partner in a successful design firm.

I WAS JUST using what was available. I didn’t have much time to do much thinking about it. I had these paste-up flats from a failed Sunday Ramparts, and the Monotype typesetter we used just a block away had limited fonts, and I was trying to put the issues together as fast and efficiently as I could with the resources at hand—after my work hours at Ramparts.

It was remarkable that I was able to get any finished product at all! If I had known that I was dealing with history, I would have paid more attention. I didn’t have time to be arty. I was just going for something readable and classic, not like the hippy rags that were floating around everywhere at that time. —John Williams

Rolling Stone covers by Lloyd Ziff, experimenting with a more bold and eclectic design style.

Ideas are what make people remember your work

Lloyd Ziff was associate art director 1973-1975, and was later art director of Vanity Fair, Condé Nast Traveler.

I DON’T THINK I’ve ever had a philosophy about type, or if I did, it was “Steal from the best.” When I was at RS my influences were Nova from England, Twen from Germany, Henry Wolf, then Marvin Israel and Ruth Ansel & Bea Feitler at Harper’s Bazaar, and Bea again when she did Ms. I basically responded to great work. Working with Mike Salisbury at RS I learned that ideas are what made people remember your work. Later I learned that Diana Vreeland had put it another, better way: “Give them what they never knew they wanted.” —Lloyd Ziff

The type of Rolling Stone

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