Monday, September 2, 2013

Design Never Takes a Holiday

It was on Labor Day, September 2nd, 1957, fifty-six years ago today, George Giusti's celebrated cover design for Holiday magazine took center stage on magazine stands across the country. Labor Day is about celebrating our work, and I can't think of a better way to celebrate this Labor Day than share this work of George Giusti (1908-1990); one of the most innovative designers and illustrators of the last century. His brilliant cover design of the deconstructed numeral 2 for this Labor Day tribute was Giusti's third of many Holiday covers he turned out in the 1950s and 60s. It is emblematic of much of his later design work, as you can see in the rest of his Holiday magazine covers below. Illustration was a passion and a strength for Giusti, and he understood how to reduce basic elements to their simplest form and to avoid distracting details. He was never fearful of using color boldly, and never hesitated to extend his designs beyond the borders of the page in order to create visual impact. Every magazine cover was a poster he would say, and by applying the theme and the graphic detail; this would equal a winning formula. Over his long career, he continued to design numerous magazine covers for Fortune, Interiors, Modern Packaging, Time, Town & Country, and Scientific American, along with many memorable book covers, album covers, posters and editorial design work. 
     Giusti first emigrated to the United States in 1938, after a successful career in advertising in Milan and Zurich. After winning numerous design awards and recognition from his peers, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Art Directors Club of New York in 1979. He spent the majority of his career in New York, and was always a tireless worker.   

A couple of side notes: I have no evidence of knowing if Giusti was responsible for updating Holiday's masthead in 1960, but as you can see, the kerning and the type were greatly enhanced at that time.
     Robert Zimmerman discovered an interesting design lesson by George Giusti from a 1959 correspondence school publication by the Famous Artists School, titled the Principles of Experimental Design. In this article, Guisti demystifies his own design process for the April 1958 Holiday cover on England. You can read it here
::Images sourced from Ad Art Gallery.


  1. Good design is timeless. Thanks for showing us these gorgeous covers, Jennifer.

  2. Interesting about the masthead kerning. What a difference! I didn't notice on the first run through, but it's so apparent once you pointed it out.


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