Scouring old design magazines (see my recent book 100 Classic Design Journals) can be an enlightening experience. Not only are the articles roots of graphic design history, but the advertisements, especially for ink-and-paper, provide insight into styles, manners and mores.
Take the ad below for a printing company with an example of work by Claire Avery, one of many “forgotten” women illustrator/designers. “Feminism in art is rarely more completely illustrated than in the charming circular panel from a cover of Vogue on the overleaf,” reads the text. “When women first came into art and the art schools began to fill with girls about the time when the word stenographer ceased to indicate a man clerk and became a synonym for young woman, the members of the weaker sex (that irritating phrase) could not resist a tendency to work in heavy masses . . . .” Well, you can read for yourself. Kind of enlightened back in the early 1920s. “Miss Avery’s cover is not only a good cover, but it is completely feminine . . . . ”
The other ads below represent different levels of modern, moderne and classical design in the service of printing vendors. They’re artful and subtle sells. Impressive at best.
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