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Elegance Personified: Gustav Jensen

Back in 2011 (oh so long ago), I began a series of “lost designers.” The first and only entry was on Gustav Jensen, the Danish born designer whose work was elegantly streamlined and daringly multidisciplinary. There will be more in my series, but for now a reprise of sorts. Here is the original post, but in this post are images I did not show back then. This issue of PM (Production Manager) devoted to Jensen helps him bridge the gap between the disciplines. It also shows what a special draftsman he was.

What Number Brush Did You Use?

In the pre-computer days, comps were painted or drawn, or sometimes collaged, in rough form. Art school emphasized hand skills, lettering with brush and gouache. The following painted “sketches”—from a collection of over 50 found in LA by my colleague …

Email Be Damned!

The United States Postal Service has made it so easy to mail a letter. Why shouldn’t we citizens keep the economically troubled USPS in business? The handy stick-em stamps are much better than the lick-em variety. What’s more the stamp …

Shadow Boxing Off Utopia Parkway

In the book Dime-Store Alchemy, poet Charles Simic captures the essence of artist Joseph Cornell in verse like a close encounter of the third kind. Several weeks ago, I was lucky enough to catch three Eastern European poets duke it out …

The Ultimate Brand Extension?

Product packaging spotted at the Wumart (I kid you not) in Beijing. Are these REAL Pepsi briefs, or is this the ultimate in knockoffs? I asked Lisa Francella, senior director of Visual Identity and Branding Extension at Pepsico, Inc., in …

Eat, Drink, and Read Menus

Jim Heimann’s latest foray into cultural documentation, Menu Design in America 1850-1985, almost leaves off where his earlier (1998) May I Take Your Order: American Menu Design 1920 – 1960 left off. And there is a touch of his (1996) …

Piedra Blanca + Alex Steinweiss

Much has been written about Alex Steinweiss, the first creator of original record album cover art and inventor of the LP cardboard package. I’ve contributed some to that body of  literature, as have Jennifer McKnight-Trontz in For the Record: The …

Pictures of Matchbook Men

My family recently inherited a collection of old matchbooks. There are probably about 200 or so matchbooks in the box they came in, all of them from the US, and most of them from California, specifically San Francisco. Being a …