Is Cardboard, Like Print, Really Dead?

Can you imagine a world without cardboard? The first commercial paperboard box was produced in England in 1817. The first corrugated cardboard box manufactured in the USA was created in 1895. During the course of these 120 years (if my math is as sturdy as the material), cardboard has been such a staple of everyday life, as well as art and design, that we take it for granted. And for those of us who regularly recycle every time Amazon Prime leaves a delivery, we may even be getting tired of it. But it is essential.

Back in 1920, cardboard was endemic to poster-making. Not the classic posters we celebrate in exhibitions and books, but the everyday “stiff-backed” variety that provided economy for mass print runs. Here is a sampling of F.W. Bower’s cardboard window cards, which were produced as templates so that non-designers need only drop in the necessary letters for the wanted message. F.W. provided a great service using an essential material, and made little-known history in the bargain.

 

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Do you design your own typefaces? Have you created stunning type-centric design work? Have you produced a gorgeous handlettered project? If so, we want to see your work. All too often, typeface designs, typographic designs and handlettering get overlooked in competitions—which is why Print developed a competition that gives the artforms their full due and recognizes the best designers in each category. Enter Print’s Typography & Lettering Awards today!

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