Vintage Advertising Assets

These Illustrator files are image-traced newspaper grocery ad typefaces that I came across while assembling the Bargain Void zines. I sourced each of them from ads appearing over a few months and since they all appear to have started out as hand-drawn letterforms and have a lot of variability in stroke and anatomy. Letter sizes have been somewhat normalized, but because I had to source each letter from a variety of different sources, there is a lot of natural variation.


The Alpha Beta typeface is super bold and all caps with stylized numbers, but with a very natural and obviously hand-drawn variability that makes it much livelier than using a font. It is missing the letter Z.


The Shopping Bag typeface is all over the place - some letters in the ads were obviously copied mechanically and others were hand-drawn, stroke and letter form vary from ad-to-ad, and kerning and baselines are all over the place. This is a typeface for playing with baselines and varying height. I think it works best when manually manipulated into the spacing and kerning that looks best for the word. I have included most of the letter forms I could find - for example I has 4 forms but the letters J and X are missing. 


The Mayfair typeface has a super bold all caps version and a lighter hand that was used a lot for superscript descriptions. The lettering in their ads looked like it was almost always hand-drawn and there was a LOT of variability in the letter examples. I tried to include most of the major variations that I could find - mixing and matching them results in a block of text that looks natural and hand-drawn. It has every letter and a few grocery extras.


I used images captured from newspapers in the California Digital Newspaper Archive as sources.

The Alpha Beta 1965 file is sourced from ads for Alpha-Beta Supermarket appearing in May-November 1965.

The Shopping Bag 1968 file is sourced from ads for E.F. Macdonald Shopping Bag grocery stores appearing between February and November 1968.

The Mayfair 1964 file is sourced from ads for Mayfair Markets appearing between January and November 1964