• Steven Heller

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 and friend Jim Heimann of Taschen Books—are either student work for a packaging exercise, or they were created in the bullpen of some package-design agency. We don’t know who did them or when, though they were produced by one person and appear to be from late 1940s or ’50s. None of the products, as far as we can tell, went to market. One thing is, however, certain: The artist learned his or her lessons well. Some of the comps are more finished than others, but all reveal a mastery of lettering using a brush.


For more Steven Heller, check out Design Literacy: Understanding Graphic Design—one of the many Heller titles available at MyDesignShop.com.

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