After rounds of “the”s lettered with (relatively) elaborate contours and alien features, a simple sans was called for. Simple does not mean vanilla. I consider it a reset, a typographic palette cleanser. Beefy weights with thinner cross bars in the tradition of Gill Kayo have become Comedy Sans to me due to frequent use on PG movie posters. Proportion here is different from Gill, but the non-militant friendliness is similar. That “e” winks. Or, the slight counter and small aperture in the “e” accentuates its strong jaw as weight does not lessen as is customary in some gothics. It’s only missing a cleft. Fittingly, one of Barclay’s sailor subjects said “Really, we were skinny kids with our ribs hanging out. I said to him, ‘I don’t look like that!’ and he answered, ‘Well, if I sketched you like you are, it wouldn’t make much of recruiting poster, now would it?’” While Barclay was an iconic painter, and experimental jet camouflager, his sketches for titles and placement don’t suggest he was responsible for the boisterous lettering used on his posters. Perhaps some unnamed recruitment office commercial artist had a knack for jocular lettering which would buy you a beer on leave.
©1941 and ™ Naval Art Collection and McClelland Barclay