Frederick C. Kendall [Editor], Ruth Fleischer [Associate]: ADVERTISING ARTS. New York: Advertising and Selling Publishing Co., July 1933. Original edition. Slim quarto. Thick perfect bound photo illustrated wrappers printed in the Aquatone Process. 40 pp. One Alexey Brodovitch fold-out. Tipped in Mickey Mouse mask. Text and elaborately-produced advertisements. Multiple paper stocks. Wrappers lightly worn with spine rubbed and chipped at heel. Textblock lightly spotted throughout. A nearly very good copy. Rare.
8.5 x 11.5 perfect 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
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, & 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.
"Astonish me!" was Brodovitch's often quoted exhortation to students attending his "Design Laboratory" classes over the years. Though borrowing "étonnez-moi!" from the Russian ballet master Sergei Diaghilev, with this charge, Brodovitch indeed set in motion the application of the modernist ethos to American graphic design and photography.
Robert L. Leonard was a founder of the American Union of Decorative Artists and Craftsmen [AUDAC]. He edited the first Annual of American Design in 1931. He taught advertising art at Pratt Institute. He also studied graphic arts in Munich and then at the Academy Julien at Paris. He worked as an illustrator in Berlin for years before returning to Paris. He came to the United States in 1923 and worked in advertising. His clients included DuPont, General Motors, Celanese, Wallace Silver, Colgate, Matchabelli, International Printing Ink and Burdines Miami.
From the article Design and Economic Recovery by Earnest Elmo Calkins: "We call this machine age as a matter of convenience, but the machine is as old as civilization. The stone hammer, the flint knife were machines. Mechanical principles known to the builders fo the pyramids are the base of many present-day machines. What we really mean by the term "machine age" is an era in which machines have been speeded up to a tempo where human thinking has difficulty in keeping pace with them. To deal with them a new technique is demanded.
When invention and discoveries began to transform our industrial system and a manufacturer produced a machine that worked, he stopped. It did not occur to him to go on and make his deivce pleasant to look at as well as defficient. It must have been the persistent ifnluence of the Puritan tradition that made manufacturers so suspicious of beauty and gave them such pathetic faith in ugliness. Beauty somehow seemed antagonistic to integrity. They managed in those days to reverse William Morris's dictum. They seldom found it necessary to make a thing beautiful in order to make it useful.
The hand worker who controlled very step of the thing he was making had been replaced by a machine minder who had nothing to do with design. the directing minds, absorbed in the new wonders of so many thins made so easily, ignored the fact that it was just as easy for a machine to stamp or print a good pattern as a bad one, and by some perversity nearly always those the bad one, and aggravated that fact by producing the bad design in incredible quantities.
Probably all works of man are ugly at first. Even in the days of handcraft each new implement or tool was crude in its original conception, was refined and took on the semblance of design only when its usefulnes had reached the maximum. The jar, the wheel, the ladle, the rug, the bracelet, the reaping hoo, hand-made produces of an earlier age, whose shapes we admire, did not stare with those graceful and seemingly inevitable forms. The potter realize that the bottle or jar coudl be a pleasing shape. These little processes of refinement went on for ages following the introduction of each new device. They were the result of evolution over a long span fo years. Being made by hand one at a time improvements could begin anywhere. Each successive craftsman added something.
Not so with the products of the machines. Once the pattern is set no change can be made short of scrapping the machines. The process is instantaneous--the result permanent. All th emore need then of some influent brought to bear on the man at the top, the manufacturer, when the pattern is made. He must be willing to consult artists to design his patterns . . . ."