Friday, March 16, 2012

Early 20th Century Trade Marks, Part 2

It is easy to find joy in some of these early 20th C logotypes like those published in The Trade Mark News in 1910-1913, and kindly shared on Double-M's Flickrstream. These old trademarks are the folk art of the graphic design industry and just like folk art, there were no rules applied. They were likely created by self-taught hand-lettering artists and illustrators, who didn't obsess about the appropriate use of white space or faux small caps or letterspacing, but probably should have. The most successful designs seem to be those with text in shapes, ribbons or other devices; or those with custom lettering on a path or multiple paths. These trademarks were often created by skillful showcard artists familiar with manipulating text. More importantly, these artists were intuitive designers which comes from experience and an observant eye. All of the logo designs seen here may have a mixed success, but the various groups of them create some great patterns when combined together. Find a previous post I did on early 20th C trademarks here in Part 1.


  1. Thanks for this graphic cornucopia (and all your other constant gifts)! I wonder if you ever saw a handsome little volume of early trademarks published about ten years ago in which the editors claimed that THEY now held the trademarks to the images they had appropriated?

  2. Thank you kindly for your generous comments Justin! You must be speaking of the CSA Archive of stock art from Charles Anderson? I don't know the entire story, but I know they claimed copyright on so many of the early clip art images from the early part of the 20th C. They published a couple of volumes of nice clip art images. Their claim was they modified each work enough to justify it as their own. Then they later spent a lot of money in order to defend their rights against infringement and I believe they won. I wish I knew more details about it, as it is a fascinating case.


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