How American industry advertised itself from the early 20th Century to the present has not changed much. Much of it is still ugly as sin. I look at the mass market point of purchase displays in drug and department stores and try to imagine how design historians and collectors will look at what we’ve done in 2015—what it says about aesthetics, marketing, branding and all the other consumerist stuff that determines the look of the visual commons.
Below is a twenties-era triptych for a mass-middle-brow product sold in the sundries section of the five and dime. The colors are loud, the lettering is crass and the drawing is generic. Nonetheless, through the lens of time, there is a particular unpretentious charm. I wonder if the molded plastic counter displays that we’ve become so used to will hold a similar allure in 100 years.
The February 2015 issue of Print—Type Today—is out now.In this issue, Print tackles one of its readers’ most passionate topics: Typography. We take a deep dive into how type has evolved—where it has been in the past, major industry milestones and so on—and analyze current trends to decode where it’s going tomorrow. Print also looks at new artists who are taking it there by naming 9 Type Designers to Watch in 2015. Get a copy today.