Soon after we started our White Plains, New York animation/design studio in 1990, a neighborhood church opened a special volunteer bookstore three doors down the block on Main Street. People would donate books to the store’s inventory and the church would accept financial donations in exchange for whatever volumes you wished to leave with – you gave whatever you felt was fair and exited with your book(s). At a certain point, it became so popular as the place you could give your old books a good home, that people would back trucks up to the front of the store in the middle of the night and literally dump libraries of tomes at the store’s threshold. If you arrived early enough, you had your pick of the tasty, choice ones and could come to the store after it opened to contribute your donation. Without a doubt, I was able to acquire some very unusual and esoteric books this way. This is also how I came to own two editions (acquired at different times) of a Russian book entitled, “A Book About Tasty And Healthy Food”.
(There’s a scanned version of a 1954 edition of the book at this link)
These books appear to have been published as a profile of popular Soviet Russian foods, food products, and recipes. There are plenty of heavily retouched monochromatic and full color photographic illustrations. A brief journey through the books to evaluate the graphic technique used to present the foodstuffs, leaves you with the impression that these were perhaps published in the 1930-40’s. The retouching is so heavy handed and the majority of the design is so unsophisticated that my instincts were telling me that they had to be pre-Cold War. Hardly. When I eventually referred back to the title page and saw the 1961/1965 publishing dates, I gasped. I’d never seen such a blatant example of stunted graphic design development – if it were produced intentionally it would be brilliant parody!
Resources Recommended by Imprint
- Available now: Print Magazine’s Guest Art Director Digital Collection
- There’s still time to enter your work in the Regional Design Annual. Register now!
- Get an inside look at logo design from Chermayeff & Geismar
- Hear the original “Mad Man” George Lois speak live about his life and work
- The Importance of Taking Risks: A live DesignCast with award-winning lighting designer, Leni Schwendinger