Currently at a modest 50 items, Advertising – Paper & Printing deserves to be cultivated more (and the depths of my hermit-packed, cave like office could certainly provide the materials). Illustration Westvaco (1927-1954), which has been around far longer than this infantile subject, are essentially printing advertisements in booklet form. These are single-page ads culled from publications such as Communication Arts, Fortune Magazine, and Graphis, ranging from the late 1940’s to the early 1980’s.
We have a number of chivalrous Champion Paper ads, some of which are variations on the below but with a different background saturation color.
The Automation of the Gaze:
If it is an ad placed in a late 1940’s or early 1950’s Fortune Magazine, there is a one in three chance that a hand will feature prominently.
Consolidated boasts about landing the coveted American Airlines Account.
Seymour Chwast illustrated this, equal parts regal and far-out, irrational fear of mushrooms.
Currently containing about 100 item, Charts, Graphs, & Diagrams is one of the Picture Collection’s newer categories. Like Advertising – Corporate Identity, Industry, & Utility, the content of this category owes a great deal to late 1940’s and early 1950’s Fortune Magazines. In the future, if this category grows like a good category should, I will probably see fit to cull Diagrams into its own category . I have already divided this post, presenting first a few charts and graphs and the diagrams after.
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, a chart or graph utilizes some sort of axis or axes, often horizontal and vertical, and reveals its information by specific plots or points and their relationship to the value established by the axes and to each other. The terms chart and graph are apparently interchangeable, but I tend to think of charts as more in the map family (of which the Picture Collection has an extensive collection) and graphs as more of the where z meets x and y variety. Regardless, charts, graphs, and diagrams all fall under the greater heading of information design. If you are interested in learning more about information design, take a look at Visual Art Library librarian Amos Turner’s LibGuide which will guide you to a bevy of resources on the subject.
Given the proliferation of PowerPoint and all of its default this, auto content that, it’s easy to forget that charts and graphs are often elegant, artistic, compositionally savvy illustrations.
Even this arcane brown-scale graph, with its clean lines and geometric intersections, is very nice to look at.
Here are a couple of graphs with language out of a Philip Levine poem, with its smelter gasses and pyrites of the heart.
A 1951 org chart in the style of Tim Burton:
And now the diagrams.
I thought these last diagrams were interesting, especially the bottom one which depicts a contraption which “metalize(s)…toy airplanes, junk jewelry” and the like to be sold in dime stores. Despite the unromantic process, the output, detailed below, looks magical.
After a hiatus for the summer, during which time the Picture Collection crew was very busy adding new content and new subjects, the blog returns to highlight one of the said new subjects: Advertising – Corporate Identity, Industry, & Utility. This subdivision of Advertising has the further chronological divisions of Pre-1950, 1950-1959, and Post-1950. These are advertisements that do not feature consumer products. Rather, like the descriptive subject heading tells you, they feature 1 of 3 things: 1) Corporate Identity advertisements, which mostly feature large corporations trying to cast themselves and their name in a positive, greater-good, type of light, 2) Industry advertisements, which are instances of one corporation or business trying to sell their techniques, expertise, equipment, buildings, and materials to other businesses and corporations, and 3) Utility advertisements, such as Water Works, The Electric Company, and the Pennsylvania, B&O, Reading, and Short Line Railroads. We have hundreds of these advertisements, most of which we added this summer, and most of which are from 1950 ear Fortune Magazines (hence our chronological subdivision featuring the 1950’s and everything else).
As I examined these advertisements, I noticed one, odd, and I must say, disturbing trend: Giant Hands. Giant Hands with jet airplanes escaping their grasp like an insect, giant hands lifting up buildings, giant hands revealing a factory under a giant basket. Modern man, whilst fashioning better living through chemistry and science, had also become literal Titans, moving factories and cities with their giant, vascular hands. Sometimes we get the whole body, but often it’s just the heavenly hands swooping in and arranging our reality. Following is a sampling.
“The People of Union Carbide created the jet-piercing flame processes” and their advertising agency created this monstrous, pork-sausage fingered, witch-green poisonous gas emitting hand violating the earth.
Delco Radio, “With productive manpower bigger and better than ever before…”
Scientific torture tests as surrealists’ wet dreams…
More dumb strength from BLH.
And finally, the mastermind behind it all, Dr. Manhattan’s red brother, Dr. Jersey City.