O.H.W. Hadank (1889–1965) began his career in 1907 and worked through the Nazi era in an advertising art capacity. His package, label and trademark design for tobacco, cosmetic and liquor companies were replete with curlicues, swashes, Tuscans and heraldic symbols. But his logos (zeichen) were more modern—simple and elegant.
The Nazis labeled Modernism degenerate, so Hadank was not one of them. Nonetheless, although he worked in a classical manner, Hadank rejected both antiquated and kitsch tropes, rarely using Fraktur type or Jugendstil ornament. Hadank’s work was not particularly “modern” looking; it was the essence of graphic elegance that the likes of Paul Rand believed influenced modern practice. He valued Hadank’s complex compositions because they exhibited a mastery of his craft and materials yet reserved special appreciation for Hadank’s purity as a typographer, letterer and illustrator.
His logos suggest a more complex relationship to graphic economy. These are only a few of the more than 100 that he designed over his lifetime in the profession. And oh how fresh they appear to be.
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