Name That Meat Slicer

Meat slicers and produce scales have a larger role in graphic design history than you might think. For instance, the Dutch modernist designer Paul Hendrikus Schuitema promoted the modern sensibility through his advertising and catalog work for Berkel, the company founded by the meat-slicing inventor Wilhelm Van Berkel. The Berkel meat slicer invention revolutionized the butcher’s trade. And Schuitema’s typography is as fresh today as it was when it emerged from his creative oven.


Although meat slicing and weighing equipment did not, as a rule, get the New Typography treatment, the hardware was adorned with lovely typographic treatments done by anonymous drafts-persons who worked for their respective companies. The decals below are some of those examples.

See Wednesday’s Nightly Daily Heller on Shepard Fairey’s Fair Use Decision.

For more Steven Heller, check out Texts on Type: Critical Writings on Typography, one of the many Heller titles available at

3 thoughts on “Name That Meat Slicer

  1. Mark Shafer

    Steven Heller,I enjoyed your talk on Wednesday evening in St.Paul.I want to tell you I was touched by your thoughts on the loss of your oak and your giant willow. (Daily Heller, Sept. 6). The presence and graphics of trees – in all kinds of light in all seasons is a pleasure. They can also be portals for awareness of mortality and change. Monet could see it. My wife and I worked and lived in New York from ‘76 to ‘92. My wife had a scholarship to Parson’s. I was an designer. We had a small one bedroom walk-up on Washington Place, a block and a half west of Washington Square in the Village. It was wonderful. Evening classes at SVA. Bread from Balducci’s. Roast chicken from Jefferson market. City views. You called me in for an interview once. I had dropped off my portfolio at the Times. We had a portfolio review and a brief talk. Nothing came of it but still – Thank you for that call.So be well. Thank you for all your work. Mark ShaferArt DirectorFederal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis