There are many ways of fathoming and enjoying graphic design from that arresting era when lithography was the primary innovative medium. One quite marvellous way we have not until now considered is the phenomenon of deluxe periodicals whereby exponents of advertising art could strut their stuff.
Perhaps the cream of this crop was Berlin-based Gebrauchsgraphik (Applied Graphic Art), flourishing in the 1920s and 1930s.
Using marvellously absorptive cover stock and other variations of deluxe paper, this venture could spotlight fresh design ideas from major designers all over the world. (The English edition emphasizes this cosmopolitan thrust by subtitling the work, International Advertising Art.)
The image above shows a poster for for a Chinese-theme Ball on February 8, 1930. An accompanying article refers to the designer, Tommi Parzinger, as being in love with porcelain. The interview coverage of this young man’s energies–excited about winning a poster competition the prize for which is a free trip to the US–comes so close to covering the same verve, diffidence and confidence we’ve seen in so many successful contemporary architects and designers.
There are copious illustrated career articles, like the one just covered, in every issue.
Also, and perhaps most gratifying to fans of this metier, there are (at the final pages) true lithographic samples of the skills of various publishers.The full-page ad shown above is not only a triumph of technical printing prowess, but a breathtakingly seductive illustration.
Continuous-color, including silver patina. And a Mercury, to stress the speed of the service.
An added gift provided by these journals (another to come to this site, in a week’s time) is the reflection they evoke (deriving from the situation of pre-Nazi Germany) of the fruitful hopes and skills about to be thrown into disarray.