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“Make America a Better Place” Peace Corps posters

Contributed by Garrison Martin on Mar 10th, 2024. Artwork published in
circa 1968
“Make America a Better Place” Peace Corps posters 1
Source: Marten Tonnis. License: All Rights Reserved.

Posters made in 1968 by art director/designer Bernie Zlotnick at Young & Rubicam for the Advertising Council as part of a campaign for the Peace Corps, a United States government agency and program dedicated to training and deploying volunteers to provide international development assistance. Copywriting by Mort Redner. Photo by legendary George Lois-era Esquire photographer Carl Fischer.

The poster shown above may have been one of the original uses of ITC Bernase Roman (my theory: Bernie Zlotnick + Tom Carnase). Adverts with Bernase Roman appeared in magazines in January 1969, February 1969, and March 1969.

An earlier version used Railroad Gothic, see further below. Adverts with Railroad Gothic can be found in magazines from December 1968 and January 1969.

Source: Curt Mekemson. License: All Rights Reserved.


Landscape version (11″×28″) dated 10/68 featuring  and
Source: Bradford Lyttle. License: All Rights Reserved.

Landscape version (11″×28″) dated 10/68 featuring Railroad Gothic and Romana

Poster with  and Young & Rubicam credit line
Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

Poster with Railroad Gothic and Young & Rubicam credit line

Print ad with
Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

Print ad with Railroad Gothic


  • ITC Bernase Roman
  • Railroad Gothic
  • Romana




Artwork location

6 Comments on ““Make America a Better Place” Peace Corps posters”

  1. my theory: Bernie Zlotnick + Tom Carnase

    Oooh! That’s sounds quite compelling. Excellent addition, Garrison.

  2. Thanks Florian! I also want to point out, I see notes of Trooper Roman's influence here, more than usual. Especially on that lowercase a.

  3. Absolutely. I have used the opportunity to update both our bio and the typeface sample: it now features this a, alongside the single-story form, which sometimes is presented as the default one (and is the only one to be included in the Image Club digitization). The original additionally had a third form: two-story and with ball terminal, and hence closer to De Vinne etc.

    Glyph set for Bernase Roman from a 1973 catalog by VGC, who had licensed the typeface from ITC

    More speculation about the genesis: already the early poster and ads used Romana for the copy. Combining it with Railroad Gothic might have looked like a missed opportunity, and prompted Zlotnick to ask for a “display Romana”.

  4. I will add that in my conversations with Bernie Zlotnick he told me that Bernase was indeed a portmanteau of the names of Caranase and Bernie. Bernie told me he had the idea for the typeface and that he commissioned Tom to draw it. I think the theory of a “display Romana” is a solid one.

    Bernie also said that Tom and ITC never acknowledged that Bernie was part of the design. Bernie had worked under Herb Lubalin at the Sudler & Hennesey studio, along with Tom Carnase and Carl Fischer.

  5. I love this place.

    Sasha, thanks for corroborating the story!

    Talking about credits, how does Ronné Bonder enter into the equation? I understand he collaborated with Carnase on many typefaces. They had a studio together in 1970, correct? Some sources give Bonder co-credit for Bernase, too, others don’t. Do you have any insights into their modus operandi and division of labor?

  6. I love this place too, Florian! Thanks for making it what it is!

    Good question about Ronné. I’ve often asked that myself. I don’t know the full details about the actual working relationship between him and Tom. My hunch is that Ronné was more of the designer and Tom the lettering/type person in their shop. I believe they ran it from 1964 to 1967 (sometimes I’ve seen it as up to '69, although in '67 Tom was already a partner in LSC). Tom was at Sudler & Hennesey until 1964, (Herb left S&H that year to start Herb Lubalin Inc.), when he left to start his studio with Ronné, but returned to Herb in '67. It’s possible he continued to collaborate with Ronné past '67. Besides the few obits on Ronné, there isn’t a lot of info about him, sadly.

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