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Devolution of a Symbol: The Swastika Through the Years

Of all the symbols and marks produced by ancient and modern peoples throughout the centuries, the swastika is the most contradictory. For thousands of years it was a thing of mystery that surfaced as disparate cultural iconography throughout the Near …

letter heads

Giving and Getting Letterhead

There are Dead Heads, Dope Heads, Knuckle Heads, Screw Heads, Shower Heads, Sprinkler Heads, Bald Heads, Jar Heads and Letterheads. The latter is among the small gems of graphic design. These are from a 1932 sample book published in England …

labels

Labels of Our Dreams

Just think, getting a label on your Consolidated Edison bill that look like this: These are but a few of the labels produced in 1913 that have a typographic exquisiteness and design nuance that was considered classic. Mailing labels are …

Matchless Originals from Japan

These are original sketches for Japanese match box labels created in the 1930s by an anonymous graphic artist. Rendered in black and white, they were meant to print in a single color. Some are drawn and lettered on slick paper …

How I Learned Modern(ism)

Colorforms, invented by art students Harry and Patricia Kislevitz, with a logo by Paul Rand, was possibly the first exposure to Modernist geometry and color that any of us with art inclinations had. (At least those of us who grew …

Separated Years After Birth

Max Körner (1883-1963), who I wrote about two weeks ago, left behind more than a bunch of obscure trademarks. Thanks to Daily Heller private eye and public nose sleuth, Mirko Ilic, we see (below) that Bluetooth owes a rather obvious …

Max "Marking Mark" Körner

Max Körner (1883-1963) was a painter and German trademark designer. From 1913 to 1921 he was a teacher of visual design and crafts at the School of Applied Arts in Stuttgart. From 1921 he held a professorship at the State …

Hammer and Suckle

Tonight is the premiere of The Americans, a curious post–Cold War series about a Russian invasion of the United States. Red Dawn and Amerika, anyone? It comes complete with a great title sequence (here) with a lot of familiar design …

American Airlines' Logo Crash Test

Questionable redesigns—they happen to the best logos, including Hershey’s, UPS, and countless others. Now American Airlines’ Vignelli-designed double A, introduced in 1967, has been grounded, replaced with a new aerodynamic computer-rendered soaring (boring) eagle, one of a new breed of  homogenized …