Back for a closer look at the design package that kicked off this blogsite (on September 3, 2012), we’re especially drawn to an ad (from the January, 1931 issue) for office furniture. The furniture itself is totally lacklustre. But the concept is riveting!

“What executive of a few decades ago would have dared admit that beauty and fine taste had their part in a world of dollars and steel and hogs and wheat? But the conception of business has changed. Office surroundings are becoming human, livable, comfortable. Men find that they can think more clearly, work more easily—have broader vision—obtain the accord of others more harmoniously in the hospitable atmosphere of a room such as they would choose to occupy in their club or their home.”

Fortune is not, when all is said and done, a dose of business news and manufactures. But instead, it is a first flush of design excitement on the part of the nouveau riche. Thereby we can fully appreciate the care and expense going into the publication by realizing that we are not dealing with a swatch of design connoisseurs but pragmatists enlisting visual excitement for the sake of money, but also something they would not care to define.

The inside front cover (printed, therefore, on the most color-friendly paper stock) conveys the value of a gasoline additive by way of the vitality mustered by porpoises trailing “your favorite liner.”    


Fortune January 1931; Neal Bose;13 ¾” x 11”;A-, P; complete magazine

The cover, then, is a peaen to the uplift that new energies represent.


There is a picture-essay about a steel works, wherein Impressionist-like painting takes the processes of blast furnaces to dimensions far beyond hard material.


In many ways the most fascinating panoply of design ideas and execution, there is a long, very well illustrated article, titled, “Dress Parade,” on the topic of the manufacture and promotion of uniforms. Not only does it give us some lovely deco cameos, but tons of insight into what was widely admired back then. To start, here we have apparel for movie theatre ushers.



Red Caps; yacht owners; the Ritz doorman.



Columbia Broadcasting Company page boys (serving free cigarettes); football players.



The conspicuous consumption of a Florida redoubt becomes less crude in light of amenities with reflective traction.

The color values and modulation for this Reo-Regal Speedwagon delivery take expressiveness far into the realm of expansiveness.



Putting the excitement of the future into tangible graphic form.




Quality control impressively rendered by a tower of stylized hawk-eyes!



A writing paper concern suggesting to car manufacturers that they write a personal letter to every buyer, pointing out the most important assets of the vehicle, to an upshot of “the most loyal group of owners on earth.”



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