One Person’s Junk is …

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The only thing I don’t like about Bill Rose’s wonderful new collection of quotidian type compositions, logos and trademarks, is the title Junk Type (Rizzoli). I know, it’s somewhat tongue-in-cheek and somewhat what we all think in the back of our minds. But it is also our typographic folk heritage. Many of the examples throughout the book are marks before Landor and Lippincott and Unimark and you name it started charging big fees for corporate identities and branding strategies.

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We’ve seen and once-upon-a-time ignored such works thousands of times. But did you know that Lucian Bernhard designed the Cat’s Paw packaging above, with its junk-type trademark? Doubtless there are scores of serious professional designers responsible for at least half or more such type treatments, with the rest created by commercial artists just doing their jobs.

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Still, what Rose has “captured,” as he calls it, is a trove of invaluable typographic Americana. Some of which still inspires, while some makes you glad graphic design evolved through show cards to Modernism. There is a nostalgic quality but also moments of true discovery like this classy artifact:

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For anyone who has a passion for design archeology, you’ll truly dig this book. And you’ll start to see lost treasures on every surface.

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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →