Graphics For A Fortune

Fortune Magazine has been around for almost 85 years and carved out a decent place for itself in the business publishing world, but I wonder how many people are aware of its graphic heritage. The magazine recently did a redesign injecting graphic energy back into the pages, but to visit the magazine’s first 10-15 years is an incomparable experience.

fortune mast010

Original Fortune Magazine masthead as designed by T.M.Cleland in 1929.

I became acquainted with Fortune Magazine‘s past soon after moving to Westchester County, NY, in the 1980s. There was an art supply/framing store in Scarsdale that was selling original vintage Fortune Magazine covers suitable for framing in your choice of wood or metal. I’d never seen such a collection of colorful and graphically entertaining images on a magazine cover before. My less graphically sophisticated self was fascinated! This was before I’d been introduced to publications like Gebrauchsgraphik, Print and Advertising Arts Magazine, etc. I was able to get the coverless editions for a song from the owner, but I soon found myself trying to get to the magazines BEFORE he ripped the front off. I finally found another source that would sell me back issues for a decent price and have since amassed a wonderful collection stretching from the beginning in 1929 to the end of WWII, including several leather-bound volumes that the publisher offered originally in the 1930s.

P1040755

Issues from 1930-35 and 1937-40.

P1040756

Issues 1940-45.

P1040757

Issues 1945-48. (The leather-bound volumes originally offered for sale by the publisher encompass the years 1935-37)

Although it was conceived and prepared while financial times appeared stable, Fortune Magazine was first published soon after the market crash in 1929 by Time Magazine co-founder Henry Luce. Its cover price was set at $1 — the equivalent of more than $15 today. Luce made a conscious effort to make the magazine as majestic and beautiful as he felt possible. Illustrators, designers, and fine artists all contributed to Fortune‘s covers and editorial illustrations, and it also dovetailed the early use of photography — especially color photography. Margaret Bourke-White was an early contributor and Walker Evans was its photo editor from 1945–65. Much of what we take for granted in present day business and corporate news reporting was pioneered in Fortune Magazine. The detailed behind-the-scenes dealings of what went on in the business world were usually not made public up to this point, and although this was clearly a case of preaching to the choir, you’ll be hard pressed to find a periodical of the time that presented the equivalent coverage of corporate goings on.

Informing-America-Henry-Luce-built-empire-with-Time-and-other-magazines

Publishing magnate Henry Luce.

Everything in the magazine was served to its loyal subscription base (newsstand sales were considered a bonus) like a sumptuous meal. Start with a beautifully designed cover. Add in a short section of classy advertising. Feed on a main course of multiple feature stories (interestingly unrelated to the subject on the cover). Then, finish with another final passage of advertising. This was Fortune Magazine for at least its first 10-15 years.

In 1999, “Fortune: The Art Of Covering Business” was released by Gibbs Publishing. It chronicles the covers of Fortune Magazine from its inception to 1950. It’s a nice addition to any library stocked with titles concerning graphics and publication design, but it lists “Unknown Artist” for several of the covers even though in some cases the artists’ initials are clearly evident on the artwork. With a bit of sleuthing, I was able to discover that the “Unknown Artist” with the “EAW” initials on the lower right of the April and July 1930 covers is Edward A. Wilson. My thanks goes to both Steven Heller and Roger Reed for helping me determine this information. (As of right now, only the March 1930 issue and the color aerial picture of NYC on the July 1939 cover continue remain uncredited with the “Unknown Artist” moniker.) The other important item missing from the Gibbs book is at least a mention of the pre-production prototype issue produced in September 1929 and labeled as Volume 1 Number 0. This dummy issue has rarely been showcased before.  Other than my prior inclusion of it as an example of Stark Davis’ work in my feature on “Ravinia Festival Program Covers,” the only other time I’ve seen a mention of the prototype is in 2010 when the University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill announced it had acquired a copy.

It seems apropos that I launch this article with the prototype:

1

Cover of the rare Fortune prototype Volume One Number 0, September 1929. Artist: Stark Davis

The first stab at what Fortune Magazine should be was in the form of a prototype (above) utilizing the masthead and double-framed composition designed by art director and acclaimed artist T.M. Cleland. The limited edition “dummy” issue’s cover was done by Stark Davis with 63 pages of ad and article examples followed by 97 pages of blank glossy stock. At the end of this article, I’ve included images (except for the blank section at the end of the publication) of the prototype’s contents.

tlc orig cover sketch011

* Original T.M.Cleland concept sketch of first Fortune Magazine cover.

pls pic012

Fortune‘s managing editor Parker Lloyd-Smith.

Parker Lloyd-Smith (from Time Magazine‘s business section) was named Fortune‘s managing editor by Henry Luce. Lloyd-Smith in turn named T.M.Cleland as designer. As described in the book Fortune — The Art Of Covering Business, while out for a drink one night with Lloyd-Smith, Cleland did the cover pitch sketch for the first issue above on the tablecloth at Bruno’s, a speakeasy on East 12th Street in New York City. The actual tablecloth remnant is framed and still hanging on the wall in the Time & Life building in Manhattan. The added tidbit to the story is that Cleland did the sketch — remarkably true to the actual first issue cover — upside down so he could present his concept without Lloyd-Smith having to turn it around or rise from his seat to appreciate it.

cleland-self-portrait

Thomas Maitland Cleland (1947)

Note: I’ve chosen to showcase the earliest individual copies of the magazine I have in the studio’s collection.

2

The first issue of Fortune Magazine. Artist: T.M. Cleland

3

Artist: Unknown (anyone have any thoughts as to who designed cover No. 2?)

4

Artist: Edward A. Wilson

5

Artist: Walter Buehr

6

Artist: Charles Dewey

7

Artist: Neal Bose

8

Artist: Neal Bose

9

Artist: Ernest Hamlin Baker

10

Artist: John Clinton Ellis

11

Artist: Walter Buehr

12

Artist: Diego Rivera

13

Artist: Constantin Alajalov

14

Artist: Ervine Metzl

metzl fish

This poster of Metzl’s from 1923 hangs in our home. It’s one of my favorites.

15

Artist: Paolo Garretto

16

Artist: F.V.Carpenter

17

Artist: A.C.Webb

18

Artist: Ervine Metzl

19

Artist: F.V.Carpenter

20

Artist: Bertha Lum

21

Artist: Ernest Hamlin Baker

22

Artist: Antonio Petruccelli  The Society Of Illustrators had an extensive exhibit of original Fortune cover art by Petruccelli in 2012.

23

Artist: Antonio Petruccelli

24

Artist: Antonio Petruccelli

25

Artist: Joseph Binder

26

Artist: S.W.Crane

27

Artist: John O’Hara Cosgrave II

28

Artist: Hans J.Barschel

29

Artist: Radebaugh

30

Artist: Thomas Benrimo

31

Artist: Joseph Binder

32

Artist: Thomas Benrimo

33

Artist: Charles Sheeler

34

Artist: John O’Hara Cosgrave II

35

Artist: Francis Brennan

36

Artist/Designer: Unknown

37

Artist: Herbert Bayer

38

Artist: Antonio Petruccelli

39

Artist: Fred Chance

40

Artist: Arthur Gerlach

P1040706

“Letters Like These From Men Like These” 1932
*”Fortune: The Art Of Covering Business” 1999

P1040708

From the 1932 book above.

Three selections from “Letters Like These From Men Like These”. This edition was published to promote the magazine’s status within the corporate community.

wpchrysler013cbdemille015nbelgeddes014

bkmrk016

1933 bookmark giveaway.

As promised, the following images are the complete contents of the Fortune Magazine September 1929 prototype. P1040720P1040721P1040722P1040723P1040724P1040725P1040726P1040727P1040728P1040729P1040730P1040731P1040732P1040733P1040734P1040735P1040736P1040737P1040738P1040739P1040740P1040741P1040742P1040743P1040744P1040745P1040746P1040747P1040748P1040749P1040750P1040751P1040752P1040753P1040754(An *asterisk has been used in the text to denote material used from the 1999 book, Fortune: The Art Of Covering Business.)

The Regional Design Annual is America’s Most Prestigious Design Competition. Be sure to enter your work to be seen.

Related Articles:

ADD A COMMENT

3 COMMENTS

  1. I am also a collector of Fortune magazine. I have every Fortune magazine ever printed.

    Concerning Vol. One No. 0 I also have the mailings that were sent with it to perspective advertisers. It provides the advertizing rates and several other interesting pieces. If you are interested I could scan some of this informtion and send it to you.