Monday, December 3, 2007

Four-Color Puzzles

I have some wrapping up to do on a number of fronts here at GT, which I promise to address presently. In the meantime, here are some images which capture the old crude charm of multi-plate printing in the days before cheap four color and no-brainer separations. The illustrator Joseph Low, who died last February at the age of 95 (Steve Heller's Times obituary available here; registration required) produced hundreds of illustrations for the Rainbow Dictionary, published in 1947. I love these things. Very carefully reasoned as form and color statements.

That said, wow! Different era. Many entries make this plain, but none better than the unfortunate fox. We've grown quite a bit more sentimental since the days after World War Two, when no editor at the World Publishing Company saw fit to strike a straightforward pictorial description of an animal caught in a steel trap in a work intended for children. It's a tough world, kids.

Meanwhile Low's jumble of a fair (top) seems urgent, jangling and witty.

Images: Joseph Low, illustrated entries for "fair," “trains" and "trap," Rainbow Dictionary, World Publishing Company, Cleveland, 1947;

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