Stencil was a moveable immoveable form of typesetting. In the early 1900′s, S.G. Monce Inc. manufactured the IMPROVED INTERCHANGEABLE “LOCK” STENCIL set with complete set of capital letters, numbers,and more. The only thing that’s old fashioned about this set is, that it was made in the early 1900s.
There was a time when everyone of a certain social status – upper classes mostly – carried name cards and showed them every time they visited a friend, neighbor or acquaintance. Visiting cards (also known as calling cards) were the social norm, the etiquette of 18th and 19th Century Europe (and those who aspired to be European in the U.S.A.).
Sam Roberts was working in advertising and living in Stoke Newington, London, when he noticed the fading remains of advertising that was once painted by hand directly onto the brickwork of buildings. He’s now the master of the Ghostsigns website and recently published a book on the Hand-Painted Signs of Kratie, Cambodia. I asked him to walk us through the routes he’s taken to find the roots of vintage commercial and hand-painted signs.
Next to cash register receipts, common price tags are arguably the most taken for granted pieces of graphic design. Many today are rendered by computer, so why bother showering them with respect. Some are, of course, handwritten without the flair of a true letterer. And most are stock designs that come from a few different business stationery outlets that sell various merchant necessities.
Or would they? In the 1930s, graphic or industrial designers wouldn’t think twice about designing cigarette packages. Now, it is the number one no-no. Anyone with a social conscience would cut off their right (or left depending on their orientation) hand before contributing to the danger of others. But back then, before health facts and warnings, cigarette packs were well-designed by some masters, like Raymond Loewy’s iconic Lucky Strike bullseye.
The now mythic Gastrotypograhicalassemblage (35 feet wide by 8.5 feet tall) three-dimensional mural designed by Lou Dorfsman with typography by Herb Lubalin and Tom Carnase was finished in 1966. In 2008, it was announced that The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, would restore and display it on their campus. I recently asked Stephan Hengst, CIA’s Marketing Director, to tell me more about the restoration and future for this Mid-Century Modern masterpiece.