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The Forgotten Typographic Art of Price Tags

Next to cash register receipts, common price tags are arguably the most taken for granted pieces of graphic design. Many today are rendered by computer, so why bother showering them with respect. Some are, of course, handwritten without the flair of a true letterer. And most are stock designs that come from a few different business stationery outlets that sell various merchant necessities.

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Mad (Magazine) Crazy…

At a time before cable television and the internet, “Mad Magazine” truly ruled and paved the way for “National Lampoon” and Saturday Night Live.

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Windows 1.0: No, Not Microsoft

In 1952 Robert Kretschmer, former Display Manager of the Wilber Rogers and Ann Lewis Department Stores, wrote a book on “Window and Interior Display: The Principles of Visual Merchandizing.” Funnily, little has changed since then, even in this digital age. Window display design (and window dressers), or as he called them “the displayman,” is still highly valued in the marketing arena.

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What Designers Won’t Do (Today)

Or would they? In the 1930s, graphic or industrial designers wouldn’t think twice about designing cigarette packages. Now, it is the number one no-no. Anyone with a social conscience would cut off their right (or left depending on their orientation) hand before contributing to the danger of others. But back then, before health facts and warnings, cigarette packs were well-designed by some masters, like Raymond Loewy’s iconic Lucky Strike bullseye.

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Airborne Logos

WWII U.S. Army Air Force squadron logos were placed on letterheads or painted on aircraft, but most frequently they were made into patches worn on uniforms. A number of the logos were designed by the Disney Studios, but others were designed by artists who happened to be serving within the various units. They were designed yet, in a way, un-designed.

Designer Nick Fasciano, who worked on Lou Dorfsman's "Gastrotypographicalassemblage" , is leading the restoration of the piece in his Long Island studio.

Gastrotypograhicalassemblage Reborn

The now mythic Gastrotypograhicalassemblage (35 feet wide by 8.5 feet tall) three-dimensional mural designed by Lou Dorfsman with typography by Herb Lubalin and Tom Carnase was finished in 1966. In 2008, it was announced that The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, would restore and display it on their campus. I recently asked Stephan Hengst, CIA’s Marketing Director, to tell me more about the restoration and future for this Mid-Century Modern masterpiece.

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Happy Birthday To The Cathedral Of Commerce!

As many people do, I’ve often found it necessary to have things framed for display at home and in our studio—a relatively simple process that had always had a satisfying result. One “gallery” I used to take my stuff to …