Monday, November 5, 2012

Historic Design in Printing

HERE’S a page taken from a book, “Historic Design in Printing”, published in 1923. Easy access to technology without formal training, seems to have been an issue back then, much as it is today. It has been said that knowledge of the past, coupled with observations from the present will create the future!

“INNUMERABLE photo-engraving establishments, with their art departments, designing on a quantity basis, individual designers, mostly without the resources or specific training in historic design, and the very few master designers, are now producing design for printing on a scale never before approached.

Too much work is produced by the “born” designer, and by others without reference resources, while the specious claims of originality, something new, and unique are common self-introductions for un-classifiable or nondescript work. It may be pretty, well rendered, and “original” but that is as far as it goes. No one wants a doctor or lawyer who is not well founded on precedents, and why should a novice in design expect to lift himself by his own bootstraps?

Several authorities quoted in the display pages warn against the effort for originality—without a foundation upon the best that has been done. Outside of a few cities having large libraries, the designer has only a meager opportunity to study early printing first hand but the printing periodicals point the way by examples and discussions of early work so that all who aspire to advancement can know something of the traditions.

The great difficulty lies in the too prevalent practice of following with avidity the heterogeneous design in present day printing. The designer who adopts this method for his motives can produce only variants without much likelihood of making any advancement.”


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