Author: Caitlin Condell

A Commercial Artist with Ideals
For nearly twenty years between the two world wars, E. McKnight Kauffer, an American, was the most celebrated graphic designer in England. He was best known for his eye-catching posters, but his book covers and illustrations, graphic identities, carpets, stage sets, costumes, and ephemera were also among the most arresting of his era. Kauffer believed fervently that modern art should move beyond the walls of museums and galleries to infiltrate all elements of daily life.
Image features a rough sketch in black, gray, tan, and blue, showing a long corridor that terminates in a view through a window onto a central stone garden. The view highlights the mirrored surface on the opposite side of the garden, which reflects the colors of the sky and landscape, here suggestive of a colorful sunset. Please scroll down to read the blog about this object.
An Infinite Reflecting Vista
In celebration of  National Design Month, October’s Object of The Week posts honor past National Design Award winners. This post was originally published on November 10, 2016. In the late 1990s, the Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) in Tacoma, Washington announced its plan to relocate from the bank building that it had occupied since 1935 to...
Image features a poaster with blue and yellow background. In the foreground, an image of a Philips Miniwatt Type E444 diode-tetrode radio value lamp, in shades or grey and brown. "MiNiWATT" is printed in red, while "PHILIPS RADIO" is rendered in solid black letters, outlined in white. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
“i’s” or “eyes”
When legendary French graphic designer A.M. Cassandre was hired in 1931 to produce this poster for the Dutch light bulb and radio tube manufacturer Philips, he was at the high point of his career. Together with fellow poster designer Charles Lupton, Cassandre had founded the printing and publishing collective Alliance Graphique in Paris, France.[1] Cassandre...
Image features yellow file folder with loose sketch in black ink of the basic form of a garden with pathways. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Swirl of Nooks for Contemplation
In celebration of the milestone 20th anniversary of the National Design Awards, this week’s Object of The Day posts honor National Design Award winners. Completed in 2013, Monk’s Garden is a small garden on the grounds of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates took their inspiration for the garden’s...
Image features a black background with letter "S" outlined in blue, evoking a fluorescent light. A box of Orion light bulbs is in the foreground in the lower register of the poster, printed in blue, orange, and white. A light bulb hangs in the center of the upper register, with the word "Orion" printed across it, and printed in white and gold. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
An Elusive “S”
Apart from several months spent at Iparművészeti Iskola, Budapest’s school of applied arts, József Bottlik[1] was a self-taught graphic designer. Bottlik began his career in 1919 and quickly established himself as a designer of eye-catching commercial product and film posters, including a celebrated 1927 design for Universal Film AG (UFA) for the film Metropolis.[2] Bottlik...
Image features illustration of Bauhaus-style urban buildings. Buildings rendered in black and white, against a blue background. An open balcony is colored red and yellow. Poster features text advertising the exhibition Bygge og Bolig Udstilling (Exhibition of Buildings and Homes) at the Forum. Lettering in black and white. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Breakout Beginning
IB Andersen (Danish, 1907-1969) was barely out of school when he designed this poster to promote the 1929 exhibition of Buildings and Homes in Copenhagen, Denmark. The exhibition was a significant one, as it featured a built model of the “House of the Future,” as designed by Arne Jacobsen (Danish, 1902-71) and Flemming Lassen (Danish,...
Image features a car with bright headlights is shown driving across a bridge at night. Lights in the distance are reflected in the water. A light bulb is encircled in the upper right-hand corner, emphasizing the product the car is utilizing. At the bottom of the poster appears the brand name PHILIPS in large orange block letters with white dashes. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Illuminating the Road Ahead
When Louis C. Kalff was hired by Philips in 1925, the company was one of the largest producers of lightbulbs in the world. Kalff created a brand identity for the company, including the iconic logo. For this poster, Kalff illustrated a car whose piercing bright headlights illuminate the scene. The stylized arcs and angles reflect...
Image features a poster design by Lester Beall for the Rural Electrification Administration. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Electrification for a Better Biscuit
This blog post was originally published on January 8, 2014.  By the 1930s, the vast majority of American urban dwellers had access to electricity in their homes and businesses.  But those in impoverished rural areas were often not serviced by private electric companies, who believed that it was not cost-effective for them to invest in...
Image features a poster depicting a triangle made up of colored blocks with a black circle at the top with atomic symbol; above: atoms for peace; lower margin: GENERAL DYNAMICS. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Looking Ahead in the Atomic Age
This blog post was originally published on August 4, 2014. The year is 1955, and Cold War tensions have begun to escalate. General Dynamics is a newly formed parent company overseeing eleven manufacturers, producing cutting edge technology for the defense of the United States. The company is capitalizing on the American policy of nuclear deterrence,...