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History American Graphic Design | by Alki1
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History American Graphic Design

Ladislav Sutnar was sent to the U.S. World's Fair in 1939 by the Czechoslovak Department of Education to set up its Czechoslovak State Hall which he had designed. During this time Czechoslovakia was invaded by Germany and he was left stranded in the U.S. He couldn't go back home because of his anti-Nazi activity before the invasion, but he found other design work for the World's Fair. He then started freelancing design in New York with Sweet's Catalog Service, and Knut Lönberg-Holm, who was Sweet's new Director of Research. Then as now, Sweet’s was a clearing house for trade and industry catalogs but there was no design direction at that time, just a mish-mash of copywriting and illustrations.


Born in Denmark and trained as an architect in Europe, Lönberg-Holm was an exponent of Constructivism and Productivism. The University of Michigan had invited him to teach an elementary architecture and design course, and he became an influence for Modernism in the U.S. Together, Sutnar and Lönberg-Holm collaborated on a series of articles and books that became guides to better functional design.


I wish I had this illustration in color, the first of the series and published in 1944. It had alternating orange and blue letters with black and a spiral binder. I especially remember it as my advertising art teacher had one that he brought to classes and lectured from it. Catalog Design Progress was published in 1950, Design for Point-of-Sale was published by Sutnar in 1952 and Package Design: The Force of Visual Selling in 1953.


Anything written by these two men are part of the history of contemporary information design.

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Uploaded on December 28, 2007