SPEAKING OF PICTURES: A VINTAGE GRAPHICS BLOG

YUMMY! VINTAGE GRAPHIC ART IN RESTAURANT DECOR!

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One of the most exciting kinds of projects at the outset of our vintage poster business was providing apt settings for restaurants. The phenomenon of enjoying a night of delicious food and wine in an inspired setting—inspired in the senses of social buzz and industrial and graphic design buzz—represents a golden opportunity for an introduction of art work that has been invested with as much love and wit as the food. Continue reading

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TIFF SELLS THE MOVIES—MARKETING DESIGN STRATEGIES

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Film festivals are remarkable in many ways. The approach I want to explore a bit is the marketing apparatus one can dip into in order to post some semblance of “success” with a varied population.

The chess game shown above was part of a first weekend midway along a span including the TIFF headquarters and the concert hall where  A list celebrities would be on hand to  show and promote their latest venture. Like chess, winning in the festival wars takes a certain kind of smarts. While we’re examining this matter as pertaining  to Toronto, let’s begin with the year’s tagline, “This Is Your Festival.” Continue reading

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ARCADE FIRE—DON’T DREAM OF MISSING THEM!

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Many rock and roll bands pride themselves on a punchy rhythm section. Those Montreal-based, world-renowned rockers, Arcade Fire, true to their Surrealist captivation, take percussive fire to startling dimensions! Their numerous pistons, deftly digitalized, do not simply get your toes tapping but transport the listener’s whole body into a dynamic  thrust such that the subsequent incidents (vocal and instrumental) play out as enacting a saga of proceeding, no longer part of the normal, mainstream, rational world. (The comprehension may be incisive for some and quite dull for others.) Continue reading

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ENCHANTED FORESTS IN VINTAGE POSTERS

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A visit, last weekend, to one of the many forested areas not far from Toronto, has directed our attention to the unique qualities of vintage graphic art taking its bearings from the sensuous magic of such subtly robust places. Continue reading

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COMING OF AGE—ON THE SILVER SCREEN AND IN ORIGINAL VINTAGE POSTERS

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Buy U.S. War Stamps Bonds 1942; Al Parker; 20” x 14 ¼”; A-,L

The film, BOYHOOD, is a coming-of-age creation, with a difference. It particularly reminds us that in the golden era of graphic design (and right up to the present) this irresistible and touching subject has been impressively explored.

Our first illustration, a brilliant vintage American modernist poster, gives us a young  philatelist being gently ushered into the good and the bad of the big world outside. Memories-in-the-making—happy or sad? Definitely rich; and what a brilliant promotion! Continue reading

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VINTAGE ILLUSTRATED BOOKS BY PERE CASTOR

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Bravo, Tortue(Bravo Tortoise), 1950; 7″ x 8 1/4″

Last week we met, Christina, working at our beloved Cafe Neuf—here in Toronto for a 1 year hiatus from work at the Paris publisher, Flammarion. On hearing this from her, it was a very quick step to happily discussing the Pere Castor children’s illustrated books (which adults can’t resist)—a commitment by Flammarian going back to the early 1930s.

Today we bring you 2 issues of the series in our collection, which we didn’t cover in the previous blogs. Our pairing today is special in that it spotlights one from the Golden Era of the 1930s, with illustrations by Rojan; but, for a change of pace, one from 1950, illustrated by Romain Simon. Continue reading

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THE ELEMENT OF DARKNESS IN VINTAGE GRAPHIC DESIGN

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Chicago Go Greyhound c. 1960 ; Rod Ruth; 40” x 30”; A-, P

Nocturnal imagery has a long-standing record of providing special impacts. In the vintage poster shown above, it lends an aura of mystery to the skyline of Chicago, the better to illuminate the glamor of its renowned commercial architecture. Continue reading

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CARDBOARD, BUT FAR FROM TACKY—ORIGINAL VINTAGE PLACARDS!

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Rhum Tamaris c.1940; Anonymous; 14 1/4″ x 10 1/4″; A-,Cdbd.

We’re beginning this survey from our placard collection, with a very simple design, a photograph of a pretty girl replete with accessories apt for the tropical production areas of rum. The poised congeniality of her expression is special. And the homespun, patterned dress, with headscarf to match, is a sort of beacon, simulating the sugar cane-based flavor of the beverage.

Promotional graphics printed on thin cardboard were designed for the interiors of shops, restaurants and bars. Their modest dimensions accord with a more casual take upon the product than full-fledged, street-salient lithographs. On the other hand, they were capable of more intimate, more exquisite communications. Both of these factors will be explored in the following steps. Continue reading

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THE GOLDEN, EDGY FASCINATION OF FORTUNE MAGAZINE, JUNE, 1933

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Naysayers notwithstanding, this is, for me, an irresistible graphic design. It graces the back cover of an issue of lithographically and journalistically advanced Fortune Magazine, and was published 81 years ago.

First a concept: it takes guts for a bride to admit  she’s more married to her cigarettes than to the guy she’s marrying later that day. Note that it’s the “I” not the “do” that’s emphasized. The pitch here is to the affluent, well-educated and very independent readership of a publication aimed at those ardently committed to private enterprise and self-promotion. Thus, in the course of selling Lucky Strike smokes, it offers a whole rationale for free-wheeling risk.

The modelling and color choice are striking (no pun intended). Her little, “It’s toasted” is both flip and sexy. Continue reading

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SPORTING LIFE IN ORIGINAL VINTAGE POSTERS

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Cycles France 1920s; A. Bernat; 63″ x 47″

World Cup Soccer, the Tour de France, Wimbledon…we live in fabulous times for those of us who love the world of sports.

The darkness of this graphic design so aptly captures the solitary daring of the event. There may be teams of riders in the Tour de France but each man has gone out on a long and dangerous limb here. What a great, iconic and even cinematic image to underline the special poetry emanating  from a prosaic, winner-take-all concern! Continue reading

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