Teague v.1

Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,429
edited March 2012 in Technique and Theory
I’ve referred to this 1920 advertisement many times in talks and articles, and often wondered who WDT, the illustrator, was (the initials are at bottom right).
Then recently I came across a profile of Walter Dorwin Teague, arguably the industrial designer most influential in establishing Modern design in the US. Following up on wiki, I discovered that in the 1920s historicist frames like this were known as Teague Borders.
Did Teague also create the layout and spec the type?
Is this sort of post appropriate to Type Drawers?



  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 898
    edited March 2012
    You have a 1923 ATF catalog right? The Teague borders are shown on p. 633 ff.

    But the borders he designed for ATF don’t quite reflect the same style as this custom work. I had never heard that the term was generalized to refer to any historicist border like this.

    There were various sets of borders marketed by foundries. The ATF set designed by Thomas Cleland actually comes closer to the style that Teague used in the Phoenix ad. (Though, still quite a bit more simplified.)

    I would not be surprised if Teague also created the layout and spec’ed the type. But I suppose it’s just as possible that he worked this up to a scheme of someone else’s direction.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,429
    No, I don’t have a 1923 ATF catalog.
    Interesting that you would mention Cleland—the 3D effect of the inner frame here is reminiscent of many Cleland pieces.
    There are other Phoenix ads in the campaign, with different historical allusions, but with the same highly linear execution.
    Note that the arms of the big X are not copied artwork, but redrawn with slightly different forms and consistent light source. Goudy employed the same approach with Kennerley, varying the serifs from letter to letter.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,647
    Is this sort of post appropriate to Type Drawers?

    Are theory and history of type and lettering separable? I think not, so I think it is appropriate.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,429
    Thanks James. I posted it under “technique and theory”; there didn’t seem to be an appropriate category for something that concerned design history without being primarily about type, and yet which had a strongly typographic focus. In fact I didn’t realize that the border, although illustrated here, had a close relationship to typographic ornament, until Kent pointed it out.

    Kent, could you post a scan of Teague borders from the ATF catalog? I’d love to see that!
  • There's a (relatively low-quality) scan of the 1923 ATF catalog on archive.org:

  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 898
    Sorry, I haven’t quite got Typeboard worked into my daily routine.

    Nick Sherman beat me to it. I was going to go look for that online version of the 1923 ATF.

    There are several pages of Teague borders. That linked image gives a adequate sense of the style, but not a complete picture. If/when I get a chance I’ll try to post some better examples for you.

    The Teague set are actually some of my favorites. But, as mentioned, there are others more akin to the Rococo style of that illustration.
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 898
    edited March 2012

    Here are a few more examples of Teague borders in use, from ATF 1923 catalog:



  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 527
    edited March 2012
    Vincent Le Moign has created some truly awesome Illustrator 'Border Brushes' digitizing some of these from the ATF catalog and other sources.

    You can easily create complex borders in 2 clicks (some made up to five combining elements) by simply adding a brush to any rectangle or circle. You can also change the size, color, etc.. and they will always fit like magic.


  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 898

    Hmm. Nice.

    For individual elements, I always like the idea of applying them as type — i.e., in a regularized gridded environment — rather than copy/paste or step-and-repeat. But the concept of Illustrator brushes is really intriguing.

    I think it’s too damn bad that modifying stroke styles in InDesign is so limited. Would be nice to be able to do some postscript things (like these border brushes) right in the layout app.

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