7.30.14 / Market-Driven Typography
The business of America is business. And the business of business is drawing customers to stores and emporiums both large and small. The Century Advertising Service located on Madison Ave in New York City was one of many similar studios that prepared pre-designed adverts for business, in this case the food industry.
These stock-cuts are a kind of non-design design, clearly rendered by layout or crafts persons with skill, that filled newspapers and magazines in the years before the advent of the holy “graphic designer.” For those who criticize the type, composition and aesthetics of these cuts, think again. They did their job of selling, with a sense of optimism and sometimes with a dollop of humor (although irony had yet to be invented).
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is the co-founder and the co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author program at the School of Visual Arts. He writes the Visuals column for the New York Times Book Review and the Graphic Content blog for T-Style. He is the author, coauthor, and/or editor of more than 120 books on design and popular culture, including the recent book Born Modern: The Life and Design of Alvin Lustig (Chronicle).