Mystery: The Staples Logo by Zan Barnett

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Yo, here's a little story:

I'm not 100% sure, but I'm fairly certain that my initial interest, exploration, and passion for design was spawned by one thing: the Staples logo. 

If you live in the United States and have ever needed office supplies, the Staples logo should be somewhat familiar. Founded in Massachusetts in 1985 as the first office supply superstore the Staples logo has remained (relatively) consistent and brilliant since it's inception. 

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As I'm sure designers know: yeah, the 'L' is a bent staple, but to a six-year-old me, this was an epiphany. As far as I can pinpoint, noticing this detail was the point at which I realized that concept, language, and visual form can come together to make a powerful statement. It was mind-blowing and beautiful and kicked off a passion for design that is going strong 22 years later.

Here is where the mystery comes in: who the fuck designed it?

I'm pretty good at research and once wrote a 25-page paper about a statue, so I'm decently proficient when it comes to scouring the internet for information, but I cannot find a damn thing about who originally conceived and designed the original staple-as-the-L version that endures today. I would assume in-house but there has to be a name out there somewhere right? So basically I'm reaching out (I know no one probably sees this, but whatever) to see if anyone can provide insight into the brilliant mind who bent that first 'L'.

I owe them a beer. 

Amazing Human: Andy Pitts by Zan Barnett

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This is a little feature about a guy I don’t know personally, but has been on my peripheral radar since I was a 9-year-old skate rat in Utah.

If you were ever a skateboarder and grew up in Salt Lake City, you’re familiar with the name Andy Pitts. Andy is an incredible skateboarder and is a pioneer of the Salt Lake skateboarding scene, helping to start one of the first indoor skateparks, Connections in 1999 (with another legend, Mike Murdock), and creating the DH48 videos that inspired tons of little bad-kids like myself to build ramps, go skateboarding, and have fun doing it.

 Credit: Slug Mag

Credit: Slug Mag

The reason I find Andy so brilliant is that he has built an amazing career combining my two favorite things on earth: skateboarding and design, and is currently the Creative Director at Deluxe Distribution overseeing creative work for Real Skateboards, Spitfire, Thunder, and Venture Trucks, all companies that I grew up idolizing. On a day-to-day basis Andy designs wheels, decks, and advertisements for some of the biggest companies and names in skateboarding, and I was motivated and inspired to learn how his journey came to be and sponge up some wisdom. 

Although I feel like there hasn’t been a ton written about it; design has always been an incredibly integral aspect to skateboarding, an unsung hero that contributed heavily to the image and culture we know today. The industry has produced some of the most incredible designers, illustrators, and thinkers who, in the true nature of skateboarding, are constantly pushing boundaries to create amazing work. If you aren't too familiar with the amazing work artists/designers in the world of skateboarding have created, check out some of these artists who have inspired me:

Jimbo Phillips

Todd Francis

Todd Bratrud

Evan Hecox

And a million more I’m probably forgetting...

Anyway, after creeping the internet and doing some research I know that Andy started out as a Graphic Designer in 2005, teaching himself along the way. His connections in skateboarding led to freelance work for Deluxe, eventually leading to a full-time job in San Francisco as creative director. Apparently he also can build anything, is capable of drinking an infinite amount of beers, and is disgusted by apple juice.

Because he designs across many brands and mediums, Andy’s work spans a TON of styles. It’s also amazing that he constantly creates exceptional personal work in addition to managing the creative output for some of skateboarding’s most ingrained brands. I’m gonna stop rambling so much and share some of the shit I find super inspiring: check it out and get familiar:

Andy's Instagram account is full of gems and a highly recommended follow if you dig skateboarding, traveling, and great illustrative design. He seems to travel like a madman and designs all along the way. I find myself really inspired by his city-related illustrations which I can only describe as CRISPY & SMART:

Andy is a truly badass human (he sent me an AMAZING little 'zine involving tin-foil hats and brainwaves just because I reached out on Instagram), and was super-receptive when I asked him if he would be down to answer some questions for a miniature-interview (mostly for my own selfish-learning benefit because I don't know how many people read this...). It took me a while to concoct the right questions and I hope I don't come off as too much of a creeper but here are some thoughts from Andy about design, skateboarding, and just random stuff in general:

Ahoy Andy! Thank you a million for the mini-interview, I'll just jump in:

 

Was there any particular artist/moment/epiphany that lead you to start design/freelancing? Did you dive right in 100%?

I had been doing a lot of personal art and little things for shops in Salt Lake. I read an interview with Winston Tseng (Enjoi’s Art Director) and just decided to cold-email him to find out how one goes about working in the skateboard industry. He was kind enough to respond to me with some tips and advice from his perspective. From that moment on I was all about it, working at bettering my range of skills and making the right connections within different art rooms to land some freelance jobs at a variety of companies.

 

Random, but I'm just super curious; how many decks/wheels/trucks do you design in a year?

I can’t honestly say as it is a constant flow of projects for all the brands, that are all continuously stacked and over lapping. Right at this moment in time, I’m concurrently working on 12 different decks, 3 wheels, a couple tee shirts, stickers etc, an ad, and 2 trucks. This is pretty a typical list/day for me - when I get one of those pieces out the door, another one will shuffle in and I’ll get that going in the mix. All the burners are usually fired up with lots of stuff cooking at once. A guess would be maybe a hundred different things in a year? a hundred fifty? I really have no idea.

 

How important is design to skateboarding? For instance, will someone choose a product based on a cooler graphic over the company/pro they prefer?

Every single person is different in what they do, choose, prefer and think.  That’s the beauty of life. The only thing I really know is what goes on in my head, beyond that I can only take guesses at why someone would want thing A over thing B. I’m sure there is a marketing room psychologist in a board meeting somewhere who tries to understand what is cool - but for me personally, I just try and make stuff that I like, am hyped to work on and hopefully someone else in the world will find compelling, interesting or inspiring.

 

What current designers crush it/inspire you (skateboarding or otherwise)?

Everyone here in the Deluxe artroom kills it - it’s rad to work with this crew of dedicated creatives who just flat out love skateboarding. I get inspired and motivated by anyone I see putting an intense amount of love and passion into something they are working on regardless of subject.

 

Do broader design trends affect design in the skateboard industry?

We’re all steeping in the same tea.

 

Do you work at all with the skateboarders who you are creating designs for?

I love it when someone has input or direction for what they want. It’s a full spectrum of input from people though, I get everything from detailed visual information, all the way down to not caring at all.  

 

What would you recommend to a designer who wanted to work in the skateboard industry?

Be diverse. Be able to do a variety of artistic things well. Illustration,  graphics, layout, typography, color, collage, painting, construction, brainstorming, screen printing, concepting, video, motivation etc. The more skills you have honed and bring to the table, the better off you will be if you are looking for a permanent artistic position in the skateboard industry.  Plus having lots of interests makes for nice, well rounded living.

 

Salt Lake City or San Francisco?

Aw man - San Francisco is definitely a cozy home for me right now.

 

Favorite trick to do?

Cramming in all the different things I want to do in the 16ish hours that I’m awake every day.

 

I think that's all I got without getting too deep:) Thank you SO much! I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. 

 

Hopefully anyone reading scopes the awesome work Andy makes and learned some cool shit!

Brilliant: the posters of Felix Pfäffli by Zan Barnett

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While surfing around the internet I came across maybe my new favorite design studio, Studio Feixen. Their incredible portfolio led me to discover Felix Pfäffli, one half of Studio Feixen who designs some of the most badass posters I have ever seen. Monotype has an incredible article about his amazing posters, and author Emma Tucker sums up Pfäffli's work very well:

Designer Felix Pfäffli’s vibrant posters are a cry for typographic rebellion, using expertly manipulated letterforms to prove that rules are there to be broken. 

For this mini blurb I wanted to focus on Felix Pfäffli’s posters for Sudpol, a multi-purpose cultural center in Kriens, Switzerland. From 2010 to 2015, Felix designed ALL the posters for Sudpol's events, and the results are indicative of the amazing things that happen when a client fully trusts a designer to go crazy. Bending form and legibility, these posters are nothing short of gorgeous.

I'm gonna stop typing and just highlight these things because HOLY SHIT, look at em!

All images copyright StudioFeixen.ch

And that's not even close to all of them. Anyway, I hope you dig the brilliance of Felix Pfäffli as much as I did. Studio Feixen also did one of my favorite projects of all time. Europeans are SMART!

New Hotness: USS Callister by Zan Barnett

Been slacking for sure on writing, but I have been making some cool new things. 

Here's a poster inspired by my new favorite show; Black Mirror. Awesome. Perhaps I'll print these at some point.

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2018: Write more, make more stuff, get my finances in order. Strong goals!

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The Story of the Assam Tourism Logo by Zan Barnett

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This article could also be called, "The Pitch of the Century".

I learned about this story while looking at one of my favorite websites Brand New. While cruising around I saw a RIDICULOUS brand update for Assam Tourism.

Part One

Assam is a state in northeastern India known for its wildlife, archeological sites and tea plantations. In the west, Guwahati, Assam’s largest city, features silk bazaars and the hilltop Kamakhya Temple. It's also full of Indian one-horned rhinoceroses (what an insane word, don't think I've ever typed that before).

This story is interesting for one reason, and hilarious for another reason. Let's talk about the interesting part first. Check out before and after the logo redesign below:

  Image Credit: Brand New

Image Credit: Brand New

Gnarly huh? And not in a good way. It’s a shame because the original Assam Tourism logo (on the left)  is pretty badass and it’s sad to see it go for something shall-we-say, ‘high-school kid who just downloaded Illustrator’. While the previous mark is not necessarily in line with 2017 trends, it had that awesome late-70’s sorta-corporate-bold energy about it and interesting custom, bauhaus-and-NASA-had-a-baby typography that complemented the mark and created a truly memorable logo.

  Baruah's logo is seen all over Assam

Baruah's logo is seen all over Assam

The story gets really interesting when you learn that it was created in 1978 by Amulya Baruah, a student at the Sir J. J. Institute of Applied Art in Mumbai. The logo was created as part of a project to create an advertising campaign for any organization. This interview goes into a lot of detail about the story and Amulya's thoughts on the rebrand, but the short story is that the Assam Tourism commission liked the designs so much that they bought them on the spot and the mark has been in effect for the last 30 or so years up until this September (longevity being a pretty good indication of the strength of a mark). Amulya Baruah has owned his own agency (ignore the horrible-resolution logo) focusing on packaging for last three decades. It's unfortunate the Assam Tourism commission didn't see the golden opportunity in having the same designer update his own work (he is also responsible for this beauty). It would have made for a much better story, instead we get this...

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Some glowing-99designs-pick-a-free-font-and-add-four-too-many-elements lookin' ass thing. I wont pile on too much into the details, as other sites have covered the elements of the weak design and subsequent disappointment.

Part Two

BUT. That leads me to the best part of this whole story (or why I should have called this 'The Pitch of the Century'). In doing some research into the logo process and launch, I discovered the official logo launch PR document and boy is it EPIC. I don't know who wrote this, but the spin-zone is absolutely unparalleled. Here we go:

The logo constitutes four essential elements that exemplify Assam- rhinoceros representing wondrous wildlife, emerald-green tea leaf, the wave of mighty Brahmaputra and scenic beauty ever-shining like the sun. When put together in a harmonious blend, it tells the story of Awesome Assam.

Most designers would agree that four elements might be two or three too many for a 'harmonious blend' but let's go with it..

The logo depicts Assam as a delightful abode for the senses. All the four elements of the logo are unbound, thus signifying serenity and soothing solitudes as far as one can see or feel. The overall look of the logo appears as natural and unblemished, as something that‟s been preserved here for a very long time, away from the hustle-bustle of modernity and pollution.

I'm definitely feeling serene, soothing, solitudes. This description is truly a delight for the senses...

The logo is aesthetically rich as it projects so many untold awesome stories attached to it. So much so that it might strike you with the thought, “let‟s go to awesome Assam.”

DONE. Book the fuckin' flight!

Books are for Smart People by Zan Barnett

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Wanna hear something crazy? In 2016 Pew Research surveyed 1,520 people from all fifty states. Of those surveyed, 27% did not remember reading a single book in the last year

That is absolutely nuts. And not in a good way. 

 

Todd Brison wrote a sweet little article that talks about this phenomenon of how people tend to stop reading after high school and therefor stop actively learning. Do people really think they've hit the plateau of knowledge at 18?

(I recognize the irony in writing this article, if you're here, you're probably not in the 50% of people who aren't reading)

I really want to explore how valuable reading is within the world of design and how the great designers we know today have leveraged learning to expand their genius. I'm gonna try to track down some quotes, links to great books, and just interesting shit in general on the topic of books.

  Photo by  Breather  on  Unsplash

Photo by Breather on Unsplash

I tracked down an awesome website that I didn't know existed until today: Designers & Books. Designed in 2011 by Pentagram (they're a pretty known agency right?) the site serves to explore the "particularly special and robust relationship between designers and books: reading them, writing them, designing them, collecting them, learning from them, and being inspired by them."

An old article by the New Yorker sums up the approach well:

The reasons the designers give for selecting a book are often illuminating: you may have heard "The Great Gatsby" recommended a thousand times, but it takes Michael Bierut to praise it for being the only book in which "a billboard gets to be a main character."

I highly recommend browsing through the list of designers and checking everything out. The site is getting a little dated (I'm not sure if it's been updated in some time) but the wisdom is not. Below are some especially insightful thoughts from some of the people I look up to most. 

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The Graphic Artist and His Design Problems
By Josef Müller-Brockmann

Swiss typography at its best.

Neither Massimo Vignelli nor Josef Müller-Brockmann need any introduction. It's only fitting that one genius informs the other.

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Art & Fear
By David Bayles and Ted Orland

This book is 122 pages of valuable advice. It’s like a microscope that lets you examine in great detail the complex challenges that confront artists and by exposing them offers possible solutions. It is one of the most annotated books that I own and taught me lessons that I can use every day.  

Ken Carbone is a designer, artist, musician, author, and teacher. As Founding Partner of the Carbone Smolan Agency, he is among America’s most respected graphic designers, whose work is renowned for its balance of substance and style. This is his strategy for reading that I think is brilliant: 

Print is not dead in my life. I’m a certified book junkie. I have shelves of books still in their shrink-wrap and I need to attend the bibliophile’s equivalent of AA.
When I begin a new book I commonly make a reduced color copy of the cover to use as a bookmark. When I finish a book, I glue this into my journal and add notes, comments, and memorable passages as a way of reflecting on what I enjoyed about the book. (For two examples, see the journal entries for The World Without Us and Art & Fear in the related blog post.) I’ve been doing this for years and will occasionally look at a past journal entry, and read my notes. It’s like reading the book all over again.

 

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The Fountainhead
By Ayn Rand

A bit obvious, and more than a little embarrassing, this book nonetheless truly made me reevaluate what it means to be a designer, at a crucial time in my life (late college). It is NOT to be taken as gospel, but more as a cautionary tale of megalomania. Plus, as a soap opera it’s pretty hard to beat.

Chip Kidd is an American graphic designer, best known for his book covers. Based in New York city, Kidd has become one of the most famous book cover designers to date. But you should know that.

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Mythologies
By Roland Barthes

A book that opened hundreds of doors to reading design, art, music, and film with the eye of an anthropologist and an art critic. Barthes infused everything else I wrote and thought about afterward.

Abbott Miller is an American graphic designer and writer, and a partner at Pentagram, which he joined in 1999. Miller’s projects are often concerned with the cultural role of design and the public life of the written word. At Pentagram he leads a team designing identities, exhibitions, environmental graphics, books, magazines, and web and interactive projects. He is the designer and editor of 2wice magazine.

 

There are hundreds of books listed on Designers & Books from some of the most brilliant and renowned minds we have in the design industry. I highly recommend checking them out and soaking up all the inspiration you possibly can. It's not a coincidence that these thinkers and visionaries are always reading and learning.

Without reading we are unable to continue learning and without learning we are unable to grow.
 

Don't be one of the 27%. That's lame as fuck

Erik Spiekermann by Zan Barnett

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Most designers (hopefully) are familiar with the brilliant work of Erik Spiekermann, the mind behind MetaDesign and FontShop. Over his incredible career he has been responsible for some of the most comprehensive corporate design systems in Germany (including work for Audi, Volkswagen and Heidelberg Printing) and was among the first to see brand identity as more than just a mark.

I learned that a brand isn’t a logo. There has to be implementation. You can design anything, but if the rubber doesn’t hit the road, you’ll be remembered as a great strategist but the client won’t call you again. You have to have a strategy, and you also have to be able to visualize it – one doesn’t go without the other. So I wasn’t a graphic designer anymore. I was a corporate designer, which is quite different.

This article is a short response to an amazing interview I read with Spiekermann at 99U.

  Image Credit: 99U

Image Credit: 99U

While his work speaks for itself, the words that Erik actually speaks are on another level of enlightened. It may be his years in the game, or general European wisdom, but pretty much everything he says should be soaked up and locked into every designers brain-vault.

Below are some of my favorite nuggets that I think are worth checking out. 

On mothers and feedback:

We talk in pixels but still my concern is always: What does it look like when it arrives in people’s hands? What does it look like in my mother’s hands? Everybody’s mother is the average consumer. My mother is dead, but she always gave me my best feedback. Mothers are good because they kind of know us personally, but they don’t professionally. So they are well-meaning observers. And because they’re our mothers, we listen to them.
 Image Credit: fontfont.com

Image Credit: fontfont.com

On inspiration:

But more than envy, there’s appreciation. All these people have attitude. And I like people with attitude – that is probably the common denominator here.

On aging:

Well, I’m 70, which is fucking old. The advantage of being older is that you have no fear. You go into a new project and think, Look, I’ve done something like this before. I’ve cracked this one. We redesigned the visual identity for the Berlin Transport Authority after the Berlin Wall came down – chaos. We redesigned the Düsseldorf airport signage within four weeks after a fire. Every time you get a project, you think, “My god, how do I start?” The start is the most important part, and that’s where confidence comes in. When you’re older you have the confidence.

On the possibility of retirement:

Of course not. I need to live to be a hundred years old to do half of my plans. Some of them go 50 years  back. Like I want do a monograph on Louis Oppenheim, a German type designer, obviously Jewish, who died in ’35, luckily, before the Nazis could get to him. I’ve always liked his work. He’s up there with the greats and nobody knows it. 
 Image Credit: freundevonfreunden.com

Image Credit: freundevonfreunden.com

Free Wisdom: Michael Beirut by Zan Barnett

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Michael Beirut is a genius. Not only because of of his incredible career in design but also because of his skill of writing about design in a way that is clever, engaging, and thought-provoking. My goal is that 30 years from now I can accomplish a fraction of what he has. 

  Image Credit: Jake Chessum/School of Visual Arts

Image Credit: Jake Chessum/School of Visual Arts

This article is about his brilliant article from Design Observer written in 2007 (recently republished on itsnicethat.com in honor of the new book, 'Now You See It and Other Essays on Design'). I'm basically just gonna quote my favorite parts, provide some dope images of my favorite Beirut type in action, and that's pretty much it. I would encourage everyone to read the full thing because it's fantastic.

  MIT Media Lab business cards   Image Credit: It's Nice That

MIT Media Lab business cards
Image Credit: It's Nice That

1. Because it works.
Some typefaces are just perfect for certain things. I’ve specified exotic fonts for identity programs that work beautifully in headlines and even in text, but sooner or later you have to set that really tiny type at the bottom of the business reply card. This is what Franklin Gothic is for. 
  Saks Fifth Avenue Redbranding, 2007 Image Credit: designboom.com

Saks Fifth Avenue Redbranding, 2007
Image Credit: designboom.com

5. Because it was there.
“We use Baskerville and Univers 65 on all our materials, but feel free to make an alternate suggestion.” Really? Why bother? It’s like one of those shows where the amateur chef is given a turnip, a bag of flour, a leg of lamb, and some maple syrup and told to make a dish out of it.
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10. Because it’s boring.
Tibor Kalman was fascinated with boring typefaces. “No, this one is too clever, this one is too interesting,” he kept saying when showed him the fonts I was proposing for his monograph. Anything but a boring typeface, he felt, got in the way of the ideas. We settled on Trade Gothic.
  Poster Inner City Infill, 1985. The New York State Council for the Arts, USA. Via  Cooper Hewitt

Poster Inner City Infill, 1985. The New York State Council for the Arts, USA. Via Cooper Hewitt

13. Because you can’t not.
When I published my first book of essays, I wanted it to feel like a real book for readers — it had no pictures — so I asked Abbott to design it. He suggested we set each one of the seventy-nine pieces in a different typeface. I loved this idea, but wasn’t sure how far he’d want to go with it. “What about the one called ‘I Hate ITC Garamond?’” I asked him. “Would we set it in ITC Garamond?” He looked at me as if I was crazy. “Of course,” he said. The book is beautiful, by the way, and not the least bit slutty.
  Image Credit: Vimeo

Image Credit: Vimeo

Those were some of my favorite nuggets of wisdom from that article, and I really look forward to snagging the new book and immersing myself in Michael's wisdom. 

Cheers to you Michael Beirut for being an an amazing designer, even better communicator, and an inspiration for designers like me everywhere!

 

  Image Credit: AIGA

Image Credit: AIGA

Fuckin' Awesome: Abram Games by Zan Barnett

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So I probably should have know about this guy ages ago, but just learned about the genius of Abram Games after reading David Airey's article about his posters and design career. 

Abram Games' work can be summed up pretty simply: 'Abram Games was one of the 20th century’s great graphic designers, and the only person in army history to be given the title of Official War Poster Artist.'

  www.abramgames.com

www.abramgames.com

Games was born in 1914 and spent his entire life working in London (this next part I'm ripping directly from Wikipedia but it's a pretty good summary): Because of the length of his career – over six decades – his work is essentially a record of the era's social history. Some of Britain's most iconic images include those by Games. An example is the "Join the ATS" poster of 1941, nicknamed the "blonde bombshell" recruitment poster. His work is recognised for its "striking colour, bold graphic ideas, and beautifully integrated typography"

  www.abramgames.com

www.abramgames.com

  www.abramgames.com

www.abramgames.com

Abram Games was an incredibly prolific designer and his style is recognizable and extends beyond his amazing poster work into stamps, book covers, and even product design, creating the Cona Coffee percolator in 1962. That's pretty much all the meaningful thoughts I have to contribute on this badass, but there's a TON of great information out there in you want to read further. 

AND even better: almost every poster Games created in his 60+ year career is available to purchase HERE.

Check out some of my favorite posters and work below.

  www.abramgames.com

www.abramgames.com

  www.abramgames.com

www.abramgames.com

  www.abramgames.com

www.abramgames.com

  www.abramgames.com

www.abramgames.com

  www.abramgames.com

www.abramgames.com

  www.abramgames.com

www.abramgames.com

Dope and Timeless: Benjamin Sherbow by Zan Barnett

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Today I was reading an awesome essay by Steven Heller called 'Earnest Elmo Calkins: Founder of Modern Advertising and a Designer You Probably Don’t Know'. The article was super interesting and a fascinating look into the early concepts that form modern advertising as we know it but the section that really get me hyped was learning about Benjamin Sherbow. 

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Benjamin Sherbow, although not well known, was instrumental in establishing standards for type and layout in advertising (I guess you could just call it Graphic Design), and I can't believe I'm only just learning his name. Doing a little more research led me to another article by Steven Heller (who is brilliant and has seemingly boundless design knowledge) on Sherbow; he sums up Sherbow's contribution much better than I can:

"In 1922, Benjamin Sherbow, a “consultant in Typography” and the author of Making Type Work and Sherbow’s Type Charts, self-published Effective Type-use for Advertising. This was six years before W.A. Dwiggins’s Layout in Advertising and Jan Tschichold’s Die Neue Typographie, the two leading books on type use. Sherbow’s book is credited by “designers,” art directors, and type directors of the era for being a no-nonsense guide through the rights and wrongs of typographic text and display."

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Basically Benjamin Sherbow identified the best practices in advertising typography before 'best practices' were even a thing in 1916. He literally spelled it out in black and white (was color printing invented then?) and is an unsung (well medium-sung) hero of print advertising. The thing I thought was especially awesome is how digestible Sherbow made things by using simple language and examples. 

Below is an awesome excerpt that illustrates what Sherbow's writings are all about:

The man who drives his cart through your street and yells “Strawberries! Strawberries!” does perfect advertising.
He gets the attention of potential buyers and tells them, understandably, good news of something to buy and he has the goods right there when and where desire is aroused: all this is merchandising at its best.
Advertising at its best is any means whereby large numbers of people can be told good news about something to buy. Advertising is simply a wholesale method of human communication.
Advertising typography is just ordinary common sense typography applied to advertising.
It is not something wildly and fiercely unique.
In fact, the general notion that advertising itself is a separate, special, peculiar, deeply mysterious thing is a vicious idea. That attitude toward advertising is what makes so many advertising efforts, both in conception and execution, pretty poor specimens
The best and wisest advertising men of my acquaintance strive with all their might for naturalness. They seek natural points of appeal, natural language in advertising, natural illustrations, natural comparisons and the atmosphere of every day life in all they do. . .
So type must be the clear, efficient conveyor of the advertising message. It must be simple and natural, no frills, no self consciousness, no “showing off” – just doing its duty.
In a nutshell, what is good advertising typography? It is typography that is supremely easy to read.

 

Benjamin Sherbow is the original legibility genius and for that I am grateful!

And...
If you actually read down this far, the best news of this whole blog is that BOTH of these awesome type books are available for free download online. 

Highly recommend grabbing them for reference:

Making Type Work
Effective Type Use For Advertising

Check it out and learn!