Sunday, August 29, 2010

Push Pin Graphic

Back to showing some of my all-time favorite things: I was going through my copy of The Push Pin Graphic and got inspired to show you some of this work.

Lets go back to the fifties. Those pre-computer days...

In 1954 Seymour Chwast, Milton Glaser and Ed Sorel started a full-time design and illustration studio in New York (Reynold Ruffins joined soon after). The name became Push Pin Studios thanks to an almanac (sort of brochure)- Push Pin Almanack, they had created previously as a way to attract freelance illustration assignments. And since it had already developed a modest reputation in the field among agencies, publishers and magazines, they decided to keep the name.

Remember that these were the pre-website days, so to promote the Push Pin Studios they decided to launch a new publication that would be more expansive and could reflect their point of view more clearly. They first named it the Monthly Graphic, but changed the name very soon after to the Push Pin Graphic, in part to avoid the 'monthly' deadline.

Over the years many artists joined and left the Push Pin Studios. John Alcorn, Paul Davis and James McMullan are some of them. Glaser left in 1975. And Chwast kept on running the Push Pin Graphic until 1980, when the cost of producing it became higher than the revenue it made from advertisers and from three thousand paid subscribers. Sad!

You can check out Seymour Chwast's website here.

So here is the book and some images I scanned from it. Enjoy!

Issue N. 36, 1962. The Thirties:

Seymour Chwast
You can really see here how Chwast's illustration style was influenced by German expressionist woodcuts! 

Issue N. 52, 1967. Three Posters
Chwast, Glaser and McMullan

Issue N. 53, 1967. Nutrition and Health:
For this Issue Seymour Chwast illustrated an excerpt from 'The Nuts Among the Berries' by Ronald M. Deutsch, about odd eating habits (...sounds like an interesting book!).
...and if this illustration reminds you a little too much of the ones from Serendipity 3, that may be because Calvin Holt (one of the restaurant co-founders) used to rent a loft, as studio space, together with Glaser back when they were students at Cooper Union. In fact, Glaser designed the Serendipity 3 logo!

... it stands to reason that Chwast might have also met Holt.

Look at this matchbox from Serendipity 3:

Issue N. 56, 1971. The Dark Side of Good People:
Seymour Chwast
Issue N. 57, 1972. Why People Keep Dogs:
Seymour Chwast
... and here are their 2 most famous posters:

Created by Seymour Chwast back in 1968, in protest of the Vietnam War. A total classic!
Created by Milton Glaser in 1966. The poster was commissioned to Glaser by Columbia Records art director John Berg. The poster was designed to be included on a Dylan greatest-hits album. Six million posters were printed. Now, why can't we get free posters like this anymore??

Among other graphic references, Glaser was inspired by a silhouette self portrait (a profile torn from a single piece of paper) by Marcel Duchamp, when creating this poster.
But if the Dylan poster isn't famous enough for you...
Milton Glaser also designed the I ♥ NY logo. Maybe now you can begin to understand how important he is in the design world...

These next posters were created by Paula Scher. She was not part of Push Pin Studios, but she did become an editor of the Push Pin Graphic in 1964. She is also married to Seymour Chwast and has been part of the New York design world since the early 70s. So I'm adding her here just because....

She is a partner at Pentagram (super famous design studio) and if you live or have lived in New York, you have seen her work: All the Shakespeare in the Park posters are created by her! [You can check out the short film at the end of this post to see more of her work]

Shakespeare in the Park posters from 1997 and 2001:
Here are 2 great short films created by Hillman Curtis as part of his Artist Series:

The first one showcases Milton Glaser, while the second one is about Paula Scher. They are both graphic design heros, so you should consider watching them. You might just learn something... ;)

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