As a child, like most children, I might guess, I was hyper-sensitive to imagery – from what I’d imagine as I’d listen to a story being read or radio to Saturday morning cartoons and especially the brilliant designs found on products and in advertising that was all around me.
I come from a family of historians – people who save interesting articles or magazines that give a good description of both national events AND everyday life during the time they were published. Everything from reader submitted folk song lyrics to Dear Abbey to comics to community happenings and the attached advertisements. I’d pour through these clippings, newspapers and magazines – learning history by images and their captions – frozen scenes from life that can go in any direction with characters whose experiences led them to those moments. I’d look at the products throughout the magazines knowing that any of them could be in the homes of anyone in the magazine – or anywhere it was being read at the time it was published – even in our house – images of LIFE, in color and description, before my time!
There are several promotional designs that really touched my creative nerve – how could I learn whichever tricks the design’s artist utilizes? I’d mimic what I liked about these ads or logos or try to recreate them myself. Here are several of them!
1970 & 1971 Topps Baseball Trading Cards – The uniformity of the frames made the images of the ballplayers inside them look like they were acting out their positions – a stage. The 1970 cards featured grey frames and the ballplayers names written out in cursive within the frames. The 1971 cards featured lowercase lettering inside of a black frame – both sets seemed cool looking and exciting to me.
The Milk Bones Box – The classic feel of its simplistic shapes – the fun font – and the easiest colors to find in even the most scattered and broken crayon collection.
Mr. Peanut – The thick outlines hold in his color the way the strips of lead and firm framing holds in stained glass windows – and you can see Mr. Peanut on pretty much any peanut shell.
The “Thumbs Up” image on the the Massachusetts’ Registry’s stickers (early 1980’s) – In my younger years I’d thought this sticker meant the driver was friendly to hitchhikers. Kind of looks like a hand wrapping around someone’s face from behind…
The Underwood Deviled Ham Devil – The classic packaging appealed to me. White background, black lettering and that dancing devil with his pitchfork laughing away – telling anyone who looks at him – “I’m bad so it must be good!”