Monday, April 30, 2012

Mayflower Power

Nothing says May Day more than some fine hand-lettered mastheads from The Mayflower magazine. (Guess it is time to dust the snow off the Letterology masthead itself as Spring is in full color and I'm late for the party.) The Mayflower magazine was founded by noted horticulturist John Lewis Childs (1856-1921) in 1885. When it folded over 20 years later, it had reached an international circulation of half a million copies. Childs also established one of the first mail order seed catalogs in the US, based in Floral Park, Long Island and was receiving up to 8000 orders per day. By 1892 he had several hundred acres with glass greenhouses, seed beds, seed stores, housing, a lumber mill, and a printing press where he employed numerous nameless artists to design his elaborately illustrated magazines and seed catalogs. Nearly every issue of The Mayflower monthly displayed an entirely hand-rendered, new or modified masthead. Child's magazine and seed catalogs soon became wildly successful and he went on to build the first school in Floral Park, served as the first town mayor and later NY state senator, and ran two unsuccessful campaigns for US Senator. 
      The colorful 1892 issue of The Mayflower above is from American Gardening. All of the other magazine covers shown below are listed by dates in consecutive order. The 1893 through 1896 issues are from Period Paper. 1899 through 1902 issues are from here. May the seeds of these lovely lettering and cover designs, cast by countless unnamed artists, provide lasting inspiration to your own typographic endeavors. 

Counting on Winning Numbers

I'm painting by numbers today—all sizes and styles. Really there are no bad numbers, just poorly designed ones. Even though there are an infinite amount of numerals, they still count as much as each letter of the alphabet. Pictured below are some of the most well-mannered numbers I have recently encountered. The ornate No. 100 is an engraved 1878 tax revenue stamp from my own files; No. 5 is from Vintage Collective; No. 15 is a tile from the San Angel barrio in Mexico City, shared by Mosh Echacuervos; the set of beautiful lead numerals are designed by Hermann Zapf for D. Stempel in 1953. They belong to Interrobang Letterpress; No. 69 is part of a 1969 calendar designed by Herb Lubalin in 1968 from Nick Keppol; Numerals 1 through 9 are printed on a game board from Pilllpat of Agence Eureka; The bold numero Uno postage stamp from Brazil honors 100 years of Brazilian stamps in 1943, from Karen Horton; No. 9 is part of a pizza box from Alistair Hall; Nos. 933 is Corey Holms's betting ticket from some dog race which N.18 appears to be a French architectural address and belongs to Clio20; No. 7 is from a series of many beautiful wood type prints from Joey Hannaford. See them all here; The mosaic no. 61 is from Raffaele Mariotti. Lastly, this lovely paint by numbers set is from Gale 47.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Got Sparkle?

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Grim Colberty Tales with Julie Andrews
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

Dame Julie Andrews speaks with Stephen Colbert about children's book publishing, sparkle and wearing princess underwear. A charming fairy tale with a bonus duet! For more joy, see Colbert's interview with Maurice Sendak here.

Letterhead Styles of the 1920s & 30s

An impressive lot of 1920s company letterheads from a variety of Seattle companies. Found on eBay recently.