daily heller 12-23 featured

Forgotten Designer: The LPs of Joseph Low

Most of you probably don’t know Joseph Low’s work, but you should. He was a popular illustrator in the late 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, and these album covers for the Haydn Society in Boston are a pictorial branding triumph.

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The Apple Of My Third Eye

All illustrators owe a debt to René Magritte (1898-1967) and to Ian Ballantine for publishing an affordable “trade paperback” on his work in the 1960s. Take a look at this recreation of this famous work.

daily heller 12-17 featured

America Invaded! Ooops.

Films such as Red Dawn, which shows Fortress America invaded and occupied in the 1980s, follow this apocalyptic trope where America is invaded by other power.

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NSA of USA vs. CSA

This is a story not unlike the NSA today, but dates back to the Civil War. Scottish born Alan Pinkerton’s name is synonymous with private policing. He founded the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in 1850 and the company is still in operation as Securitas AB.


Games French People Play

Advertising is about the art of surprise, leading to persuasion, ending in recognition and loyalty. We may not recall Ruban Bleu Margarine, but in the late ’20s, you can be certain that the French had it on their radar.

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Snail Mail Art

When I was an art director at the New York Times, my colleagues and I received our fair share of illustrated beauties either as invoices, promotions or simple greetings. Here are a few sent to me and others.

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Music Visualization 1.0

Before the deluge in Germany, in 1931, the composer Heribert and illustrator Johannes Grüger published “The Sing Song Picture Book,” in which characters and images represent notes. Presaging the digital age rage for icons and glyphs, the pair realized that children respond to animated pictures


The Future of German Advertising Past

Julius Gipkens (1883-1968) was one of the masters of Plakatstil (Poster Style) in Berlin and an exponent of Lucian Bernhard’s Sachplakat (Object Poster) methodology. A self-taught artist, he founded a graphics agency, which designed for the Sarotti Mohr confection firm, Cardinal Cigarettes and the Leiser shoe company.


The Seedy Beauty of the Soho Diva

Rian Hughes is a master of many arts and a prolific author. In addition to books of comics, collections of vernacular types and other handbooks on design, his Batman Black and White is just out. Recently, he published a book of drawings, Soho Dives and Soho Divas (Image Comics) which so fascinated me, I had to ask him:


Dr. Hans Sachs’ Posters for Sale

The recent discovery of lost Nazi looted Modern masterpieces, has brought Hitler’s criminal art activities back to the forefront. Dr. Hans Sachs, poster collector, editor of Das Plakat, the magazine that advocated for standards of early German advertising art, and whose his vast collection was confiscated by Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, narrowly escaped the Holocaust. Recently, after years of court wrangling, his holdings, many of which were in major German collections, were returned to his family.