About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes a weekly column for The Atlantic online and is the "Visuals" Columnist for the New York Times Book Review. He is also the author of over 160 books on design and visual culture. And he is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.
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Shoes, Jam, Mosquitoes

These posters are from the period of Dutch advertising design between the wars, when Holland exhibited as vibrant an advertising culture as the rest of Europe — and obviously using many of the same graphic idioms as the rest of Europe.

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Before The Tea Party

Patriotism and revolution went hand in hand in during the late ’60s and early ’70s when the “new left” was challenging the authority of government. Even before the so-called Tea Party adopted the American Revolution’s finest slogan and flag (designed by Benjamin Franklin), members of the Students For A Democratic Society (SDS) appropriated the symbol.

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A Timeless Lost Typeface

Benedictine was designed by Joseph E. Hill in 1915 for Mergenthaler Linotype and introduced in 1917 with this stunning thread bound specimen folder. Read more about this typeface.

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Corporate Generosity

Explore the Phoenix Metal Cap Co.’s unique in-house magazine, Phoenix Flame. Its editor, who went by the name of HIG, was assisted by illustrator/designer Elmer Jacobs and was a delightful anomaly in the worlds of big business.

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Before Global Warming

Before the myth of global warming became to real to ignore, selling anti-freeze to the public was no less challenging. Here are several ads from the 1930s for this seasonal product.

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The Vignelli Bunny

The DH has just uncovered rare images of the Vignelli Bunny, who in 1987 was briefly a fixture around the legendary Vignelli studio.

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Saucy Signs from Belle France

This 1893 sign catalog by Dequenne & Cie. for their “Plaques Indicatives,” including the famous Paris street signs and all manner of enamel door numbers and office signs, holds up pretty well in the 21st century.

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A Mag For Goodfellas

I was the co-publisher and art director of Mobster Times. The magazine started as a vendetta against the former art directors of Screw, Brill and Waldstein, who left in a huff and founded and published Monster Times, a sci-fi tabloid, and grew into its own entity.

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Have You Got Self Esteem Issues?

Physical perfection has been big business in the U.S. since the nineteenth century. Take a look at these ads in the literary journal, The Black Cat (1895–1922).