ADVERTISING ARTS, May 1933. Frederick C. Kendall [Editor]; Alexey Brodovitch, Walter Dorwin Teague, Henry Dreyfuss, etc.

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May 1933

Frederick C. Kendall [Editor]

Frederick C. Kendall [Editor]: ADVERTISING ARTS. New York: Advertising and Selling Publishing Co., May 1933.  Original edition. Wire-spiral binding. Thick wrappers printed on silver metallic stock. 40 pp. Multiple paper stocks and printing effects throughout. Elaborate graphic design and production throughout. Cover Design by Warren Chappell.  Trace of light wear to wrappers, edges of two leaves printed on green stock tanned, otherwise very good to near fine. Rare.

8.5 x 11.5 wire-spiral bound magazine with 40 pages of text and advertisements. "Devoted to the design of advertising, the creation of printing, and the styling of merchandise and packages." -- the Publishers.

"Advertising Arts" promulgated a progressive design approach (and style) unique to the United States during the early Thirties, called Streamline. Unlike the elegant austerity of the Bauhaus, where economy and simplicity were paramount, Streamline was a uniquely American futuristic mannerism based on sleek aerodynamic design born of science and technology. Planes, trains and cars were given the swooped-back appearance that both symbolized and physically accelerated speed. Consequently, type and image were designed to echo that sensibility, the result being that the airbrush became the medium of choice and all futuristic traits, be they practical or symbolic, were encouraged. The clarion call was to "Make it Modern" -- and "it " was anything that could be designed. – Steven Heller

  • Questionnaire: Art, Modernism, and Photography
  • Small Space by Franz C. Hess
  • Memo to Brewers by an Agency Executive
  • Three Beer Posters by Lucian Bernhard, Otis Shepard, and Alexey Brodovitch: Five-color fold out with two posters on one side [Otis Shepard, and Alexey Brodovitch] and one on the other side [Lucian Bernhard]
  • 1932 Art Directors' Show: includes work by Frederic Freeman, Melisse, Howard Trafton, Bruehl-Bourges, O. Soglow, Alexey Brodovitch, J. W. Williamson, Anton Bruehl, Urban Weiss, John Zwinkavitch, and Peter Arno
  • Spires and Silks from Marshall Fields including a tipped in swatch by Walter Dorwin Teague from the Century of Progress prints series. Wow.
  • As a Printer Advertises: Three Specimen Pages from The Lakeside Press, Chicago under the Direction of William Kittredge
  • The Story of the "Toperator" Designed by Henry Dreyfuss
  • Lithography: Its History and Practice by F. Walter Mueller
  • Two New Carbon Paper Packages by George Switzer

Alexey Brodovitch [1898 – 1971]is a legend in graphic design: during his 25-year tenure as art director of Harper's Bazaar, he exerted tremendous influence on the direction of design and  photography. A passionate teacher of graphic design, advocate of photography and collaborator with many prominent photographers, Brodovitch is often credited with having a major influence on the acceptance of European modernism in America. His use of assymetrical layouts, white space, and dynamic imagery changed the nature of magazine design. He was responsible for exposing everyday Americans to avant-garde artists by commissioning work from cutting-edge artists such as Cassandre, Dali, Cartier-Bresson, Man Ray, etc.

Brodovitch played a crucial role in introducing into the United States a radically simplified, "modern" graphic design style forged in Europe in the 1920s from an amalgam of vanguard movements in art and design. Through his teaching, he created a generation of designers sympathetic to his belief in the primacy of visual freshness and immediacy. Fascinated with photography, he made it the backbone of modern magazine design, and he fostered the development of an expressionistic, almost primal style of picture-taking that became the dominant style of photographic practice in the 1950s.

He came to the United States in 1930 to start a department of advertising (later known as the Philadelphia College of Art). There he trained students in the fundamentals of European design, while embarking on numerous freelance illustration assignments in Philadelphia and New York. In 1934 Carmel Snow, the new editor of Harper's Bazaar, saw his design work and immediately hired him to be its art director. It was the beginning of a collaboration that was to revolutionize both fashion and magazine design, and that catapulted Bazaar past its arch-rival, Vogue.

Throughout his career, he continued to teach. His "Design Laboratory," which focused variously on illustration, graphic design and photography and provided a system of rigorous critiques for those who aspired to magazine work. As a teacher, Brodovitch was inspiring, though sometimes harsh and unrelenting. A student's worst offense was to present something Brodovitch found boring; at best, the hawk-faced Russian would pronounce a work "interesting." Despite his unbending manner and lack of explicit critical standards -- Brodovitch did not formulate a theory of design --many students under his tutelage discovered untapped creative reserves.

The name Henry Dreyfuss [1904 – 1972] is synonymous with industrial design. Dreyfuss was one of the "big four" industrial designers, along with Walter Dorwin Teague, Norman bel Geddes and Raymond Loewy.

During his 44-year career, the versatile Dreyfuss designed hundreds of products that have become icons of modern design, among them the Princess and Trimline telephones, John Deere tractors and Hoover vacuum cleaners, which he outfitted with headlights and bumpers to protect furniture. Other designs by Dreyfuss range from the familiar Honeywell round, wall-mounted thermostat, the Big Ben alarm clock, trains such as the 20th Century Limited for the New York Central Railroad, and the "Situation Room" for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during World War II.

Dreyfuss streamlined even his wardrobe by wearing only brown suits, stayed exclusively at the Plaza hotel while he was in New York, so clients could always find him, and reportedly missed only five days of work in twenty-two years. He enjoyed long-standing relationships with such firms as AT&T, John Deere & Co., Honeywell and Lockheed.

During Walter Dorwin Teague's [1883 – 1960] time, industrial designers were transforming ordinary objects by marrying materials, technique and function to produce the simplest and most efficient forms possible. The resulting products had an appearance that was a stark visual break from the past. Practitioners of this style of design, known as streamlining, art moderne or art deco, did away with most nonfunctional elements in favor of sleek designs. Their efforts transformed everything from automobiles, trains, ships and airplanes to cameras, buildings, furniture and appliances.

The trend began in the mid-1920s as an attempt by manufacturers to increase sales of consumer goods in a saturated marketplace by giving them a distinctive and modern look. At the most idealistic level, as exemplified by Teague, the new designs and the improved function they represented could be a force for good. "A better world than we have ever known can and will be built," Teague said. "Our better world may be expected to make equally available for everybody such rare things as interesting, stimulating work, emancipation from drudgery and a gracious setting for daily life."

Teague detailed his industrial and artistic philosophy in Design This Day, first published in 1940. His book appeared at about the time Hitler was invading Norway--before the United States entered World War II--and toward the end of the Great Depression. "We walk between catastrophe and apotheosis," he declared in Design This Day. "In spite of the mighty destructive powers that threaten us, our vision of a desirable life was never so clear and our means of realizing it never so ample."

Along with designers Norman Bel Geddes, Henry Dreyfuss and Raymond Loewy, Teague helped create the industrial design profession in America, defining the visual character of the 1930s and 1940s in the process.

He started his career in graphic arts, painting signs and drawing for catalogs, and later worked in advertising. A 1926 trip to Paris introduced him to new ideas in design. He returned believing that unity of design could create a more orderly world and decided to become an industrial designer. Teague started his own industrial design firm and received his first commission in 1927, designing cameras for Eastman Kodak. The relationship lasted for 30 years.

In 1936 he placed his signature on American roadsides. Texaco replaced its regionally styled gas stations with a single design--green and white porcelain-enamel stations designed by Teague. The clean look, highlighted with red stars, was easily identified by motorists. Although some of Teague's utopian ideals and radical design concepts never materialized, he was clearly a visionary. And we are still intrigued by his desire to build a better world.