ADVERTISING ARTS, July 1930. Joseph Sinel, Egmont Arens, Robert L. Leonard, Rockwell Kent, Clarence Hornung, Ugo Mochi, Eliel Saarinen, Gustav Jensen, Earnest Elmo Calkins, etc.

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July 1930

Frederick C. Kendall [Editor]

Frederick C. Kendall [Editor]: ADVERTISING ARTS. New York: Advertising and Selling Publishing Co., July 1930.  Original edition.  Letterpressed thick perfect bound wrappers. 72 pp. Multiple paper stocks and printing effects throughout. Text and elaborately-produced advertisements. Cover by Herbert S. Roese. Wrappers rather dust makred, lower 40% of spine chipped, a few corner creased; internally about very good. Rare.

8.5 x 11.5 perfect bound magazine with 72 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

  • What is the Future of Industrial Design? by Joseph Sinel
  • We Acquire New Eyes by Egmont Arens. Photography by Edward Steichen,
  • Styling the Filling Station, Design by Luicen Bernhard
  • “New Simplicity” in Modern Typography by Alice Beeson Ecke
  • The Natural as the Basis for the Stylized Form, Four Sketches in Crayon by Robert L. Leonard. Leonard was one of the founders of the American Union of Decorative Artists and Craftsmen [AUDAC].
  • Modern Silverware Design Wins the Mass Market: the Viande knife and fork designed by Eliel Saarinen.
  • The Bookplates and Marks of Rockwell Kent by Nathan Horwitt
  • A Poster in Black and White by Julius Klinger
  • Efficeincy and Good Taste in Forms by John A. Scott
  • Architecture as a Source in Modern Design by Clarence P. Hornung. Features work by Ely Jacques Kahn and Theo van Doesburg.
  • Multiplying the Trade Mark’s Effectiveness. Work by Carl Noell of Joseph Sinel’s studio.
  • Glorifying the Bathroom Tap, Design by Helen Dryden
  • Three Pages Showing Hudnutt Windows, Designed by Jules Jean Brodeur
  • The Silhouettes of Ugo Mochi
  • Smart Containers are Made in a Variety Of Materials
  • We Pause to Honor: Lewis Mumford, Frank Crowninshield, Fritz August Breuhaus, Burton Emmett.
  • Réne Clarke by Leon Kelley
  • Full-page color painting by Max Ninon, Paris.
  • Full-page color painting by Jacques Darcy.
  • Full-page black and white rendering by Gustav Jensen.
  • Full-page color drawing by Catharine Mellen.
  • Truth is a Mighty Advertising Technique by Earnest Elmo Calkins.
  • Contributors to this Issue

Joseph Claude Sinel [1889 – 1975] was born in Auckland, New Zealand where his father ran a stevedoring operation. He attended the Elam School of Art, then started work as an apprentice in the art department of Wilson & Horton Lithographers, working at the New Zealand Herald from 1904-1909 and studying under Harry Wallace. After a stint in England, he returned to New Zealand and Australia working as a freelance designer, then moved to San Francisco in 1918, where he first worked in advertising, then in 1923 started his own industrial design company in New York City. In 1936, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Sinel claimed to have designed everything from "ads to andirons and automobiles, from beer bottles to book covers, from hammers to hearing aids, from labels and letterheads to packages and pickle jars, from textiles and telephone books to toasters, typewriters and trucks." Although he is perhaps best remembered for his designs of industrial scales, typewriters, and calculators, he also designed trademarks for businesses such as the Art Institute of Chicago, created book jackets for Doubleday, Knopf, and Random House, and for many years designed publications for Mills College. He taught design in a number of schools in the United States, and in 1955 became one of the fourteen founders of the American Society of Industrial Designers (which later merged with other organizations to form the Industrial Designers Society of America).

Sinel is sometimes said to have coined the term "industrial design" around the 1920s in the USA. Sinel denied the paternity of this term in an interview in 1969. "... that's the same time [1920] that I was injecting myself into the industrial design field, of which it's claimed (and I'm in several of the books where they claim) that I was the first one, and they even say that I invented the name. I'm sure I didn't do that. I don't know where it originated and I don't know where I got hold of it."

Allow us to quote at length from WHEN ADVERTS WERE EARNEST by Steven Heller: “In the early 1920s American products were either nondescript or laden with ornament to camouflage a mass-market look. Although mass production was the foundation on which the modern American economy was built, many cultural critics felt that items coming off the assembly line lacked good taste. American industrialists, who could easily afford to aesthetically improve their products, were apathetic, if not resistant, to the idea of spending cash on looks. What they did not resist, however, were marketing strategies that would ensure greater profits. So following a brief economic downturn in the early 20s and subsequent boom, industry frantically tried to find a new means of stimulating even further sales. It was the profit motive, not any transcendent utopian ethic or aesthetic ideal, that paved the way for commercial Modernism in the United States, which was introduced to American advertising in 1925 by Earnest Elmo Calkins (1868-1964) an advertising pioneer, design reformer and founder of Calkins and Holden Advertising Co.

“After seeing an array of cubist and futurist graphics, packages and point-of-purchase displays that he discovered in the pavilions of the Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes , Calkins wrote to his staff in New York: “It is extremely ‘new art’ and some of it too bizarre, but it achieves a certain exciting harmony, and in detail is entertaining to a degree. [Everything is] arranged with an eye to display, a vast piece of consummate window dressing.” What was so different from most American advertising art was the noticeable rejection of realism in favor of abstraction. Illustration was not representational but through symbols, metaphors and allegories exuded a “magical” atmosphere. Boxes and bottles were no longer mere utilitarian vessels for their contents, but rather represented the essence of what the product symbolized to the consumer. Calkins summarized it this way: “Modernism offered the opportunity of expressing the inexpressible, of suggesting not so much a motor car as speed, not so much a gown as style, not so much a compact as beauty.”

“Modernism was a bag of tricks the artist could use to set an ordinary product apart. And advertising artists were indeed quick to appreciate the possibilities of Modernism since realistic art had reached what Calkins termed a “dead level of excellence.” It was no longer possible to make an advertisement striking, conspicuous and attractive by still pictures and realistic groups. Spearheaded by Calkins and Holden, and later adopted by such progressive agencies as N.W. Ayer and Kenyon and Eckart, commonplace objects-toasters, refrigerators, coffee tins-were presented against new patterns and at skewed angles; contemporary industrial wares were shown in surrealistic and futuristic settings accented by contemporary typefaces with contempo names like Cubist Bold, Vulcan, Broadway, Novel Gothic and more. Layout inspired by the European New Typography also became more dynamic in its asymmetry. Modernism offered an aura of cosmopolitan culture and avant garde style and signaled the spread of an aesthetic coming-of-age of American adverting.

“Color, which was comparatively rare in magazine advertisements in the mid-1920s, was another aspect of department-store Modernism introduced as a raucously decorative component in windows, which until then had been prosaic displays of products. The new windows borrowed primaries from De Stijl and the Bauhaus and combined them with bright purples, greens and oranges. In addition, “Modernism to the general public came to mean silver and black,” explains Frederic Ehrlich in his book The New Typography and Modern Layout (Frederic A. Stokes, 1934), one of the most astutely written critiques (posing as an instructional manual) of Modern practice published in America at that time. Ehrlich was referring to the metallic silver papers and black silhouettes that were ubiquitously used in window displays as well as later in magazine advertisements, menus, etc. The new silver alloy, Aluminum, symbolized the Machine Age as vividly as pictures of factories, crucibles and gears.

“True Modernism is good taste! And here is the key distinction between the radical forms of European Modernism that are heroic and romantic today, and the commercial application introduced in the 1920s: The former was intended to violently disrupt the status quo and improve the visual environment, while the latter had no loftier purpose than to revolutionize the buying habits of the American public and so stimulate the economy.”