Blue Pencil no. 32—The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design: C entries
Combinaisons Ornamentales | Alphonse Mucha, Maurice Verneuil and Georges Auriol | book | Librairie Centrale des Beaux Arts | c. 1900
Why show six pages from Combinaisons Ornamentales on the front? This is not typical of the Archive’s approach and it does a disservice to the book. The back has more small images: the binding/cover and three more pages. There are no captions. This means that most readers are unlikely to realize that the small upper right image on the front is of the page that Bell describes as, “The key to the book’s purpose”: an explanation of how to use hinged mirrors.
Bell provides only cursory information on the backgrounds of Mucha, Verneuil and Auriol, describing them as “Art Nouveau painters, designers and writers”; and gives no information on the history of pattern books. He makes no attempt to link designs in the book to the work of the authors, even though all but one plate is signed. (This is where captions would be helpful since the images are too small to decipher the monograms on each page.)
• “Georges Auriol” should be “George Auriol”.
Eckmannschrift | Otto Eckmann | typeface | Rudhard Type Foundry | 1900
“At a time when German designers and critics were defending the symbolism of their nation’s continued use of Fraktur (a German variant of blackletter), and debating its aesthetic and functional values relative to those of roman typefaces, Eckmann’s design sought to combine and refresh the two sources.” McVarish is on the right track here, but she has confounded fraktur as a category with fraktur as a style within that category. The debate in Germany in the 1890s was between fraktur as a category—equivalent to blackletter—versus antiqua (or roman). Eckmann is a mix of textura—not fraktur as a blackletter style—with roman. “Eliminating customary flourishes, Eckmann’s letters retain Fraktur’s calligraphic expression….” she also writes. There were no flourishes to be eliminated since they are rare in textura. There is no retention of a calligraphic expression—at least not from a Western point of view—in the typeface. What is kept from textura are certain forms such as D, E, G, H, M, N and T that are found in textura but not in roman. Furthermore, she likens Eckmann to William Morris’ Troy, seeing both as roman forms surrounded by “simpliﬁed gothic strokes”. This betrays a misunderstanding of Troy which is a rotunda, a form of blackletter. The better comparison is of Eckmann to Behrensschrift. McVarish ignores the influence of the brush on Eckmann’s appearance and makes no mention that it was intended, surprisingly enough, as a text face.
The front image is of Eckmann initials not the original typeface which is relegated to two images on the back, both from the same type specimen book. None are dated. What is not shown that would have been informative are the original drawings for Eckmann and a sample of the lettering work by Eckmann that was the basis for its design.
• “Rudhard Type Foundry” should be “Rudhard’sche Gießerei”.
Michelin Guide | André Michelin | book | Michelin | 1900
Why is the Guide Michelin in the Archive? Why is it important as an example of graphic design? Vienne writes: “The layout was smartly conceived. The many small headings in Bodoni extra bold extended, stood in sharp contrast to the wide letter spacing of the roman body type. The text was a landmark accomplishment in terms of legibility….” Yet, there are no images to support this assertion. Only a single page from the 1900 edition is shown and it neither matches her description nor looks especially distinctive. She is wrong about the typeface since there was no such face as “Bodoni bold extended” available in 1900—and, as far as I can tell, available today. Based on online images from the Guide Michelin available online at ABBL 1914–1940 the entry names look to be set in a fat face and the principal body type is an unidentiﬁable didone. Other types, including some sans serifs, are also present.
The image on the front is of the cover of the 1900 Guide Michelin while on the back there is the foreword, a 1920 advertisement and a photograph of the Michelin brothers c. 1915.
Was there anything pioneering about design—as opposed to the content—of the Guide Michelin? Why isn’t the earlier Baedeker guides in the Archive? Or more signiﬁcantly, why are there no examples of dictionary design if the intent is to show the adoption of contrasting typefaces and weights as part of the evolution of information design?
• The title should be rendered in its original French as “Guide Michelin” rather than anglicized.
Franklin Gothic | Morris Fuller Benton | typeface | American Type Founders | 1902
The front image (uncaptioned) is not of Franklin Gothic as designed by Morris Fuller Benton for American Type Founders but of digital renditions of ITC Franklin Gothic designed by Victor Caruso in 1979 and supplemented by David Berlow in 1991. Neither Caruso nor Berlow is mentioned by Duarte who also fails to discuss Franklin Gothic’s role in ATF’s sans serif type “family” alongside News Gothic, Lightline Gothic, Monotone Gothic and Alternate Gothic. He repeats the dubious claim that Franklin Gothic was inspired by Akzidenz-Grotesk and then makes the wild assertion that both faces were “modernized versions of early traditional wood letters.” Sans serif wood type may have copied sans serifs from foundries but not the other way around.
The lone image on the back of the card is of a 2006 poster for the ﬁlm Rocky Balboa Christmas, presumably set in Franklin Gothic. This entry may be the worst in the entire Archive. It is an embarrassment.
Wiener Werkstätte | Josef Hoffmannn and Koloman Moser | logo | Wiener Werkstätte | 1903
The front image of the 1905 Modernes Kunstgewerbe exhibition by the Wiener Werkstätte is excellent. The back images of the logo, some wrapping paper and the Wiener Werkstätte are acceptable, but not the best possible. The logo is reproduced at far larger size than needed. There is no example of the groundbreaking stationery, labels or postcards.
“Like the Glasgow School, the Secession offered a counterpoint to French and German Art Nouveau, based on sans-serif lettering and rectilinear, geometric design,” writes Ilyin. This is patently wrong, as any cursory examination of Secession graphics would show. She describes the ﬁrst emblem of the Werkstätte which became a registered trademark but there is no image of it. In describing the second mark, the interlocking Ws shown here, she leaves out any reference to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s influence.
• Fritz Warndorfer is not included as one of the founders of the Wiener Werkstätte.
Perrier | St. John Harmsworth | logo | Société des Eaux Minérales, Boissons et Produits Hygiéniques de Vergèze | 1903
What did the Perrier logo look like in 1903? It is not clear from the images presented here. The one on the front, part of a “Newspaper advertisement, 1902” (but clearly from 1907), is not the same as the one from The Lady of Fashion magazine from 1906 displayed on the back of the card. In his opening paragraph, Devabhaktuni says that the logo has been “unchanged since its ﬁrst appearance” and then in his last paragraph he says “the logo itself has been periodically reworked”. His description of the logo—which version?—is insufﬁcient: “lower-case serif letters in white with an embellished initial ‘P’. What kind of serifed letters? What sort of embellishment?
Secession 16. Ausstellung | Alfred Roller | poster | Vienna Secession | 1903
How to choose between the two outstanding posters designed by Alfred Roller for the exhibitions of the Vienna Secession? The 1903 poster for the 16th exhibition is on the front here and the 1902 one for the 14th exhibition is on the back. On the basis of priority I would have put the 1902 poster on the front.
Twemlow’s description of the 1903 poster is nicely done, but he fails to recognize the influence of Rudolf von Larisch in the “vigorous stylised lettering”, especially the repetitive, whiplash Ss. Both the packed text below them and the packed text on the 1902 poster are examples of the ﬁgure/ground relationship in lettering that von Larisch promoted.
• “Vienna Secession” as client should be “Vereinigung bildender Künstler Österreichs—as Twemlow notes parenthetically).
Citroën | André Citroën | logo | Citroën | 1903
Vienne says that the 1903 Citroën logo was “a blue-and-yellow herringbone” and that the current red-and-white version—shown on the front—was not adopted until 1985. There is no image of the 1903 version, yet the title block carries the date 1903. In fact, none of the four images on the card is earlier than c. 1950. This despite Vienne’s discussion of the mark playing a prominent role on the 1934 Traction model Citroën. (There is also no image to accompany her long description of the mark on the 2007 C-Crossover.) Image no. 1 on the back (the façade of a Citroën dealership, c. 1950) does not show the logo at all, only the name. The lettering or type for the name is different in each of the images.
Doves Press Bible | Thomas James Cobden Sanderson and Edward Johnston | book | Doves Press | 1903–1905
Why is Emery Walker, cofounder of the Doves Press, not given a design credit? Archer says the Doves Bible was “their” masterpiece. She also says that, “For this edition, Cobden-Sanderson cut a new roman typeface, known as [the] Doves Type….” which is not true. Carol Cable, author of “The Printing Types of the Doves Press: Their History and Destruction (The Library, vol. 44, no. 3 July 1974), says the type’s “creation was primarily the responsibility of Emery Walker.” Cobden-Sanderson commissioned Edward Prince—who goes unmentioned by Archer—to draw the type which was supervised by Walker.
Archer refers to “the calligrapher Edward Johnston” without indicating his importance in the Arts & Crafts movement. She implies that the Kelmscott Press, which was wound down in 1898, was still operating in 1900: “…they [Walker and Cobden-Sanderson] set up the Doves Press in Hammersmith, London, in 1900, along similar lines to William Morris’s Kelmscott Press situated close by….”
The front image of the well-known opening page of Genesis is an excellent choice; and the two images on the back of trial designs for it are of interest. But the image of a spread from the Book of Psalms is too small to appreciate the typography and, being verse, is not typical of the Doves Bible pages.
Bayer |disputed | logo | Farbenfabriken vormals Friedrich Bayer & Co. | c. 1904
Terrett presents two competing stories about the origins of the Bayer logo, one that takes place in the 1890s and the other in 1900. Then why is the date for the logo in the title block listed as c. 1904? What happened in that year? The card has seven iterations of the logo but the caption only says, “Development of the logo.” No dates. (The Bayer: 150 Years website says that the Bayer cross logo was introduced in 1904 but without any back story.) The only precise information provided by Terrett is that the logo began to be embossed on aspirin tablets in 1910; that an illuminated version of it was installed on the company headquarters’ roof in 1933 [it was replaced with a second one in 1958]; and that the logo was updated in 2002. Of these versions, only the tablet is shown—but it is poorly reproduced and the logo is barely visible.
Terrett says that, “After World War I, Bayer’s assets, including the right to its name and trademark, were conﬁscated….” But this is only partially true. That happened in Soviet Russia and the United States but not in Germany. See Bayer: 150 Years—Science for a Better Life.
Red Letter Shakespeare | Talwin Morris | book | Blackie and Son Ltd. | 1904–1908
The front image of the cover of The Red Letter Shakespeare edition of Much Ado About Nothing is excellent. But on the back, the choice of images is less successful. Sutherland describes three variants of the series’ covers: “…a red leatherette binding stamped in gold, a red cloth binding and a white cloth binding blocked in sage and vermilion, published by Blackie’s subsidiary, the Gresham Publishing Company.” Only the ﬁrst is illustrated in the entry—three times! One example on the front and two on the back. The other four illustrations on the back are of interior spreads from three plays, three of which are virtually identical (the other includes the Dramatis Personæ page for variety). This is very repetitive. And not very useful as the back images are too small to appreciate the typography—though that may be intentional since Sutherland does not discuss it. The type appears to be Caslon which, in 1904 would have been signiﬁcant. She focuses on the decorative elements of the cover, spine, endpapers, half title and title. The latter is not illustrated, nor is the introduction with its rubricated initial capital. So why has Phaidon listed this under book rather than under book cover?
Priester | Lucian Bernhard | poster | Priester | 1905
This entry repeats the common misconception that the Priester poster by Bernhard pictured on the front is the one that touched off the plakatstil revolution. It is not. This poster is from 1915 according to Hubert Riedel while the pioneering Priester poster by Bernhard is actually from 1903 (not 1905 as the title block here states). That poster is not as spare as this one. Instead it has the heading “Priester-Hölzer” and the company name and address “Deutsche Zümdholzfabriken Aktiengesellschaft Centrale Berlin C.2. Klosterstr. 99” writ large above the pair of matches. See Bernhard: Werbung und Design im Aufbruch des 20. Jahrhunderts by Hubert Riedel et al (1999), p. 13 for the 1903 poster and p. 61 for the 1915 poster.
Jones repeats the oft-told story of how Bernhard designed the 1903 poster but he leaves out the important role that Ernst Growald, the sales manager at Hollerbaum and Schmidt, the lithographers, played in getting the design accepted.
The Stiller shoes poster on the back is dated 1908 by Riedel not 1912 as the caption here states. It is an excellent example of the Bernhard “object poster” but showing his poster work for Manoli, for whom he designed the logo and packaging as well, might have been more fruitful.
Waschanstalt Zürich AG | Robert Hardmeyer | poster | Waschanstalt Zürich AG | 1905
The poster for Waschanstalt Zürich AG on the front is not from 1905 as implied by both the title block and the text by Wilson. It is probably 1915. Online searches for the correct date of this poster yield many sites—museums, art galleries, poster houses, auction houses—claiming 1904 or 1905 and a few saying 1915. But the answer lies in The Swiss Poster 1900–1983 by Bruno Margadant (1983) who challenges the 1905 dating as a misunderstanding (p. 55). He cites a 1914 article in Das Plakat as part of his evidence and also says that the poster could not be before 1913/1914 since it is in the “world format”. The ﬁrst poster in that size was put up in 1913, but it was not until the next year that the “Allgemeine Plakatgesellschaft set up new advertising pillars and hoardings to take the weltformat [world format].” (pp. 51–52). I would add that the lettering style on the poster is inconsistent with pre-World War I trends. It is closer to Art Deco than to either Art Nouveau (as the lettering in the 1904 poster is) or to Arts & Crafts (as much of Bernhard’s poster lettering is).
Who Gets Your Money (“Ring of Power”) | John Campbell Cory | information design | Joseph Pulitzer | 1906
This is an intriguing item. I cannot ﬁnd anything at all about it online.
Rapp says that Cory’s diagram “presaged more sophisticated directions for information design, staking out formal and conceptual territory for much later artists such as Mark Lombardi….” Unfortunately, there is no image of Lombardi’s work here. But there is a c. 1971 diagram (insufﬁciently labeled) by Charles Eames—which is not noted by Rapp.
• The “New York World Magazine” should be the “New York World” newspaper.
• Joseph Pulitzer should not be listed as the client; it should be the New York World—or perhaps its editor Frank I. Cobb.
• “Campbell was a traditional, though talented, caricaturist.” should read “Cory was a traditional, though talented, caricaturist.”
Die Fledermaus | Berthold Löffler | poster | Cabaret Fledermaus | 1907
The ﬁrst paragraph is essentially as I submitted it. The opening of the second paragraph has been changed as has portions of the third paragraph. The latter change by the Phaidon editors has affected my original meaning. My text: “‘The cabaret was an apt monument,’ writes Kirk Varnedoe, “to the openly mondain spirit of the Werkstätte, so opposed to the Symbolist solemnity that had ruled the Ver Sacrum years.’” Phaidon’s version: “…it [the Die Fledermaus poster—not the cabaret] had equally broken away from the solemn symbolism entrenched in the Vienna Secession….” Besides the shift from the cabaret as the subject to the poster, this sentence mistakenly sees “solemn symbolism” as the same as “Symbolist solemnity”; and it confuses the entire period of the Vienna Secession with the Ver Sacrum years (1898–1903).
I stressed the reproduction of the Die Fledermaus poster as a postcard and failed to discuss the sketch for the poster reproduced on the back of the card since I was unaware of it. (Phaidon did not provide it and I did not discover it on my own.) The sketch differs substantially from the ﬁnal design and is worthy of inclusion in the Archive—and some commentary about it.
AEG | Peter Behrens | identity | Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft | 1907
The emphasis on the entry is on Behrens’ work in creating an identity for AEG, but the images are not the best possible ones to support that point. Ilyin says that the basic elements of a corporate identity program are “a logo, uniform typeface and standardized formats.” Behrens’ design of the magazine Mitteilungen der Berliner Elektricitaetswerke and of catalogues for arc lamps, fans and electric tea kettles would satisfy the latter requirement but none are included in the entry. The only standardized item shown are three publicity seals (called “promotional stamps” in the caption). “These designs can be ascribed to Behrens with certainty only where they can be related to his poster, pamphlet, or brochure illustrations,” writes Gabriele Heidecker (Industriekultur: Peter Behrens and the AEG, p. 476). Those shown on the back of the card do not ﬁt her criteria.
Behrens did not consistently use a single typeface for AEG’s identity. Ilyin notes his choice of “roman serif capitals” for the logo in 1907, but nothing else about AEG “typefaces”. Heidecker says that Behrens’ ﬁrst work for AEG “was the development of a new, exclusive typeface”, a roman “always written by hand”, but that it was soon accompanied by the “so-called Behrens-Antiqua”. The latter ﬁrst appeared in 1908 and was publicly issued by the Klingspor foundry. (See pp. 178–185 in Industriekultur.) Despite the widespread use of Behrens-Antiqua, often drawn by hand, in AEG material, it appears on the card only in the form of the third and ﬁfth logos.
The front of the card shows Behrens’ 1907 poster for the AEG Metallfadenlampe. It is striking but a better image, from the standpoint of showing his identity program for AEG, would be either his cover for the prospectus for AEG Spiraldrahtlampen and AEG Metalldrahtlampen (G37 in Industriekultur but without a date) that includes both the honeycomb logo with the Behrens-Antiqua style lettering and the horizontal roman logo; or the 1913 brochure cover for AEG Flammeco-Lampen (G45 in Industriekultur) which combines the turbine hall designed by Behrens with a lamp designed by him and the roman logo. (Heidecker believes that this famous work by Behrens was actually designed by Lucian Bernhard rather than by Behrens in the sachplakat style. See p. 460, Industriekultur.)
On the back of the card, in addition to the publicity seals, there are seven iterations of the logo (all undated and uncredited) and photographs of the turbine hall (which, if one squints, displays the honeycomb logo) and of Behrens (c. 1928). The logos should be credited since not all of them are by Behrens. The ﬁrst is by Franz Schwechten (1896); the second by Behrens (1907)—but not noted by Ilyin; the third by Behrens (1908); the fourth by Behrens (also 1908); and the other three not treated as logos by Heidecker. They are iterations of AEG set horizontally in the two “typefaces” and thus could be dated as early as 1909—not 1912 as Ilyin says—based on their appearance in various graphics (e.g. see the pamphlet for Bogenlampen-Aufzug on p. 458 of Industriekultur).
• Paul Jordan, AEG managing director, invited Behrens to work for AEG according to Tilmann Buddensieg in Industriekultur (p. 10). Ilyin says it was Emil Rathenau.
• AEG was/is not an “electronics” company but a company that generated electricity and manufactured electrical appliances.
Also Sprach Zarathustra | Henri Van de Velde | book | Insel Verlag | 1908
The double-page spread on the front should be rotated and enlarged so that the typeface can be seen better—or a detail of it should be on the back. What is the typeface? The images on the back, although obviously all from Also Sprach Zarathustra, need to be identiﬁed. The upper left is the binding and the lower right is a double-page spread. Is the upper right a double-page title page? Is the lower left a half-title page?
Choi’s discussion of the book’s design is insufﬁcient. She emphasizes the title page “with its elaborate geometries, rich colour palette and integral title composed of serif capitals” and notes that the inside pages have gold ornaments. Nothing else. No identiﬁcation of the typeface or mention that the use of a roman face was a political/aesthetic statement in Germany at this time; nothing about the typography with its solid justiﬁed settings made possible by the use of ornaments as paragraph markers (a la the Kelmscott and Doves Presses); no explanation of the sources for van de Velde’s decorative motifs or if they have any symbolic meaning. Moreover, if her description of the title page is that of the upper right image, then she has neglected to point out that a double-page title was innovative, preceding those of Dwiggins, Tschichold and Armitage by several decades. If the image at lower left is the title page then her description is wrong. This is where the coordination between an author’s text and the images chosen by Phaidon’s editors becomes a real problem.
Choi says that Nietzsche’s text was important but does not provide a quick summary of its contents or explain why it was important. Did van de Velde’s design relate to the content or was it mere decoration?
• “Why “Henri Van de Velde” here but “Henry Van de Velde” in B041?
• Since the entry for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (B017) includes Lewis Caroll as the author in the title box then this title box should include Friedrich Nietzsche.
Confection Kehl | Ludwig Hohlwein | poster | PKZ | 1908
The Confection Kehl poster by Hohlwein on the font is wonderful. The Hohlwein poster on the back Hermann Scherrer is a good one, though my personal preference is for the Scherrer poster with the woman on horseback (see ﬁg. 105 in Ludwig Hohlwein: Kuntsgewerbe und Reklamekunst ).—especially since Twemlow says that Hohlwein was “a keen horseman and often included horses in his designs”.
Twemlow’s text is generally excellent, though he does not identify the third man (in black suit and top hat) in the PKZ poster. More importantly, he calls Hohlwein “one of the most proliﬁc and influential poster artists of the twentieth century” without saying anything about his career in the 1930s designing posters for the Nazi regime.
Baumwollpflückerin | Oscar Kokoschka | poster | Kunstschau | 1908
Kuittinen says that the “Baumwollpflückerin” poster “is designed in a bold Jugendstil manner, distinguished by its use of angular line and integration of ﬁgure and strong sans-serif lettering into the decorative picture surface, both of which reflect the mosaic-like style of [Gustav] Klimt.” I would entirely disagree. The poster is noteworthy precisely because it is not an example of Jugendstil or of Sezessionstil. It is closer to the work of the German Expressionists of the time, especially in its massed, chunky, sans serif letters that look like, but preceded, Rudolf Koch’s famous Neuland typeface (1923). The same distinctive lettering—which is not to be found anywhere in Art Nouveau—appears in the 1909 poster for “Murderer, Hope of Women” by Kokoschka shown on the back of the card. And Kokoschka’s ﬁgures seem to have little in connection with Klimt’s mosaic-like ones.
Seven-Segment Display | Frank W. Wood | typeface | self-commissioned | 1908
Wood’s patent application was ﬁled in 1908—but for an eight-segment display according to Black. The patent (974,943) for the seven-segment display was, as the front image shows, was not granted until November 8, 1910.
Why does Black describe the system as “a method of showing Arabic numerals” when in the same paragraph she says it can be used also for upper-case and lower-case letters of the Latin alphabet? her text is a bit confusing at the end where she says that “Today, seven-segment display represents one of the most functional and legible uses of type. Although antiquated, typographers are still using the style as a point of inspiration, most notably the British type designer Alan Birch, who created the ‘LCD’ font family in 1981. In doing so, he revived the eighth line segment from the 1908 patent.” There was no patent in 1908, only a patent application. Birch’s typeface LCD does not adhere strictly to the format of the segmented display concept as he uses strokes of different lengths. 1981 does not qualify as “still using” today. Typographers are not the same as type designers. Finally, seven-segment display characters may be functional, but they are not highly legible.
Black provides no information on Wood himself. The title block does not even list his dates of birth and death.
The back images are redundant and inexplicable: a seven-segment display from the 1970s and a Seiko quartz watch from 1973; and a “sketch” from 2008 that does not materially differ from Wood’s design of 1910.
Zermatt Matterhorn | Emil Cardinaux | poster | Zermatt Tourist Board | 1908
Brown’s text is unclear: “Cardineaux then turned his hand to poster design, creating in 1906 a memorable poster for ‘Berne’, along with six mono-cards, a small collectible form of advertisement. One of these, commissioned by the Zermatt tourist ofﬁce, was this design of the Matterhorn.” How can a small mono-card from 1906 be the same as a poster from 1908? Where is the Berne poster? The back of the Archive card shows three posters by Cardineaux, all from the 1920s. Furthermore, Brown says, “Beneath the image [of the Matterhorn], the sans-serif lettering, which typiﬁed the artist’s posters from 1915 onwards, set in orange and black, uniﬁes the text with the rest of the composition.” How can lettering on a 1908 poster typify lettering after 1915? The three 1920s posters shown here all have different lettering, none of which matches that of the Matterhorn poster.
Note: The lettering on the poster Winter in Switzerland on the back is very similar to that of the lettering on the Waschanstalt Zürich AG poster (C013). It is dated 1921!
Copyright | unknown | symbol | unknown | 1909
Why isn’t Thorvald Solberg, the Register of Copyrights, the head of the Copyright Ofﬁce in 1909, given the nominal credit for designing the copyright symbol if it ﬁrst appears in the text of the Copyright Act of 1909? A small snippet from the act is displayed on the back of the card. Or perhaps Herbert Putnam, Librarian of Congress at the time and closely involved in the Copyright Act, deserves the credit? The category of client should not be left as unknown. I would suggest the client was the United States Congress or the United States Government.
Thackara’s text is not always clearly written. For instance: “The symbol originated in US copyright law, which was ﬁrst enacted by Congress in 1790…. Strictly speaking, a work was only protected by US copyright law if it had a copyright notice, which consisted of three elements: the © symbol (or the word ‘Copyright’ or abbreviation ‘Copr.’), the year of ﬁrst publication and the name or other designation of the copyright owner.”