graphic design

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Image features poster with hot pink background, an upcoming musical performance is announced. The singer’s name, Taana Gardner is written in curly red letters across the top, and a black and white portrait of the young singer gazes flirtatiously out at the viewer from within the frame of a red heart, out of which a devil’s tail emerges. She is also surrounded by red hearts of various sizes. Beneath her portrait, the title of her song, “Heartbeat” is printed in a bold, black, shattered typeface. The lower half of the poster provides information on the details of the upcoming show. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Pure Coquette
Although some may claim that disco died a messy media “death” in 1979, in the early ’80s, its “Heartbeat” could still be heard reverberating on radio airwaves and in dance clubs across the United States.[1] Fame first found Taana Gardner in 1978, when she became an overnight sensation after recording the vocals for West End...
Image features front and back covers that have black printed text against a pale yellow background. Front cover incorporates various black and white photoillustrations of hard candies in cellophane wrappers. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Cellophane-covered Catalyst
Although Elaine Lustig Cohen left behind a significant body of work, she did not really begin her own graphic design career until the death of her husband, Alvin Lustig, in 1955. Lustig, one of the most influential graphic designers, relied on his wife to serve as his secretary, draftsperson, and production assistant, becoming increasingly dependent...
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 the cover of book, The Gorey Alphabet. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
The Gorey Alphabet
In the spirit of Halloween, a fun and spooky object in our library collection is a copy of The Gorey Alphabet  by Edward Gorey.  Edward Gorey (1925-2000), American writer and artist, child prodigy and high achiever has nestled his way into the hearts of those fond of dark themes, Victorian and Edwardian settings, and pen-and-ink drawings. The...
Image features a tornado-like object composed of metal strips at center; text in blue above in a wavy line; text on either side, and photographs of buildings. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
In the Eye of the Tornado: Rethinking the Limits of Design Copy
Today’s Object of the Day celebrates the winners of Cooper Hewitt’s National Design Awards. Honoring lasting achievement in American design, the Awards take place annually during National Design Week, with festivities for all ages celebrating design creativity and innovation. Today’s blog post was originally published on March 29, 2018. As design director for her alma mater, Art Center...
Magazine covers, (L) no. 12, 1926. (R) No. 34, 1928.
Inspirations for Mad Men
I have always loved looking at old advertisements in magazines; many of the people that come and use the Cooper Hewitt Library come for that specific reason. Advertisements are designed to establish a connection between the person seeing it, and the product or idea the ad is selling. Typefaces, colors, styles of portraying an object-...
Image features poster asymmetrically bisected into two separate color fields, featuring white egg on red-orange ground at right, with uneven black splotches gravitating towards (or emanating from) it; white ground at left, with black text at top left. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Hatching Good Design
Today’s Object of the Day is on view in Rebeca Méndez Selects (October 5, 2018–June 16, 2019) Produced by renowned American graphic designer Paul Rand, this poster announces the 1966 International Design Conference in Aspen (IDCA). Rand is known for his influential contributions to the advertising industry, including his logos for IBM, Westinghouse, ABC, and...
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,...