Rejoicing in Cheap Fluorescent Printshop Printing

Los Angeles’ Colby Poster Printing Company was one of the last great hold-outs of the fluorescent, oak tag, wood and metal type poster printing companies in the U.S. of A. The legendary Hatch Show Print is still, thankfully, around and a few other Kinkoesque ink jet shops continue to churn them out. But Colby had been producing the real thing since 1948 on their Heidelberg Letterset press until closing shop on December 31, 2012. To commemorate its demise, various and sundry artists and designers joined together for an exhibition and catalog that commemorates Colby’s color saturated existence.

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Dan Nadel’s Picturebox publishing company (which is shutting down this year) is responsible for In the Good Name of the Company: Artworks and Ephemera Produced By or In Tandem with the Colby Poster Printing Company organized by Christopher Michlig, Brian Roettinger and Jan Tumlir. This book documents the print shop’s history and one of its final projects: a series of posters by artists including Ruscha, Kathryn Andrews, Scott Benzel, Peter Coffin, Daniel Eatock, Eve Fowler, Jacob Kassay, Allen Ruppersberg, Andy Spade and Craig Stecyk. It is among the most viscerally satisfying volumes of art and design I’ve seen all year.

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Posters from Colby are mundane by high falutin’ design standards yet beautiful in their simplicity. Posters by the falutin’ artists are word-driven communication with LA. Typographically, there is a consistent look but that’s the nature of the game (the same wood types and color palette drive the dominant in your face style). What it says about the history of American job printing and layout is secondary to the joy derived from the lack of pretense. Get this book to guiltily enjoy or to watch your best designer friend enjoy it.

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Mathias Gasser

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Eve Fowler

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Eric Junker

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Deadline Extended for Print Celebrates Design
Don’t miss your chance to enter the new competition, Print Celebrates Design, which recognizes outstanding design work created for specific events and holidays. Enter by December 13, 2013.

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