Sign for Savoy Taylors Guild Ltd., The Strand, London (c.1906).

Sgraffito on a wall in the Giudecca section of Venice.

Detail of a neon sign for a barbershop in Grottaferrata, Italy.

Detail of page from Les Ecritures Financiere, et Italienne-Bastarde (1647) by Louis Barbedor, a French writing master.

Detail of store sign for Cortese Frizzoti in Venice. The letters in black have been painted over a gold ground which covers a former store name in mosaic tile.

Medieval inscription in Round Gothic capitals. In the cloister of S. Giovanni in Laterano in Rome.

Capital E and G stencils from collection of Eric Kindel, Reading, England.

Ghost signs with printer’s fist on wall of Rue de la Commune in Montreal.

Detail of painted directional sign for Coney Island covering mosaic sign indicating Up Town Trains. 53rd Street station of the R line in Brooklyn.

Punches for punctuation cut by Giambattista Bodoni at the Museo Bodoniano in Parma, Italy.

Detail of cover of Warren’s Standard Printing Papers specimen book by S.D. Warren (1929). Design, ornament and lettering by W.A. Dwiggins.

Blue Pencil

Paper Is Part of the Picture no. 25—The 1960s (Part II: Swiss Style)

This is one in a series of blog posts accompanying Paper Is Part of the Picture: Strathmore Paper and the Evolution of American Graphic Design 1892–2017, an exhibition that I curated at The Opalka Gallery of The Sage Colleges in Albany, New York. The exhibition ran from October 3 to December 15, 2017.
the gestalt assault cover (Strathmore Paper Co., 1970). Design by Ken Kuenster. Photograph by Ariel Smullen.
From the early 1960s to the early 1970s Strathmore’s promotional mailings reflected the …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 56—”New Kind of Printing Needs New Design”

Front page of the Graphic Arts Section, Part Three of the Boston Evening Transcript (August 29, 1922). Design by George Trenholm.
W.A. Dwiggins has held an anomalous position within design history. His varied work as an advertising designer, book designer, and type designer is often praised but rarely shown in design history surveys. Instead, he is included principally as the coiner of the phrase “graphic design.” It is an assertion that I debunked several years ago, though it still persists. …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 81—Who Coined the Term “Graphic Design”?

Three and a half years ago I wrote two posts about the origins of the term “graphic design” that debunked the commonly held view that W.A. Dwiggins deserved credit for it: “Graphic Design:” A brief terminological history (June 4, 2014) and  “Graphic Design:” more on the terminology of a profession (June 8, 2014). In them I traced the first use of the term to the California School of Arts and Crafts in 1921, one year before Dwiggins used …
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