The IWPR Logo & the Typewriter

With the launch of our revamped website, IWPR’s long-standing ‘dusty-key’ logo has been retired. It was definitely time for a refresh. But the retro elegance of the old image will be missed – and among many IWPR-lifers, will be long cherished. The logo – hard-core reporting with a disdain for image (if not cleanliness!) – crystallized the essence of IWPR, as well as previous IWPR offices, and as reflected in the tidied up new logo, these are certainly core values we aim to maintain. Indeed, in many a distant IWPR field office, the large IWPR banners, with the logo blown up to massive size, will surely remain in use for a long time to come. The original logo was created more than fifteen years ago as a composite of four separate photographs of actual keys from an antique Royal manual typewriter – with dust and all. The lowercase letters for the ‘institute for war & peace reporting’ – complete with clogged letters and other imperfections – were taken from a typed sample. For several years, a photo of the extended chrome carriage return key served as the website’s standing “home” link.

As for the typewriter, it endured hammering from editors and reporters for many years within the offices of The Nation magazine in New York, America’s oldest continuously publishing political weekly. And hammering was definitely required to make serviceable impressions. Under the chaos of an office remodeling at the magazine’s then offices on West 13th Street in New York City, the machine was “liberated” some 25 years ago by an aspiring editor and journalist – bearing a faint if much fresher resemblance to the current IWPR executive director. Well before the PC era, the typewriter survived the uncountable number of drafts required to complete a first-ever published article, a piece of local muck-raking about a new auto plant in the farmlands outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Irving Howe, renowned editor of Dissent, sent back one submission, requesting that it be retyped “properly.” So much for image...

Now typewriter and typewriter image as well are at last fully freed from any further duties (save for a brief cameo in our new video). But for their services the old typewriter and old logo will be long cherished, and at IWPR their values will endure.