Sunday, August 28, 2011

New York World's Fair / Souvenir Book / 1939

Donald Deskey’s superb design of this World Fair book must have made it one of the more worthwhile souvenirs amongst the of hundreds cheaply made commercial items. Perhaps the best souvenir of all was the plate (right) designed by Charles Murphy for the Homer Laughlin company, unfortunately I don't have one.
    Deskey is probably better known as a furniture designer of the streamline era but his graphic work appeared in every household across the land because he designed the Tide soap box with the red, orange and yellow bulls eye and boxes for Oxydol and Cheer. The design for Crest toothpaste was also his.
    The design of this book with 144 (unnumbered) pages still looks fresh today, seventy plus years after they were printed. Large photos and graphics, angled text and the clever use of ten short pages to introduce the various sections work really well and provide enough visual interest to keep turning the pages. I particularly liked these short intro pages that used spot color and cleverly designed to blend into the page underneath. Turning over the cover to reveal a bird’s eye view of the complete Fair with color on the left and mono on the right seems rather unusual design choice though. The only problem with this lovely book was the plastic ring-binding, I think it should have been a bit looser to make turning the pages easier. When I got my copy a few years back it was very brittle so I removed it.
    There are a few worthwhile books about this amazing Fair. The best are The World of Tomorrow (ISBN 0060159235) and Trylon and Perisphere (ISBN 0810924153)

1 comment:

  1. Only after his death did I learn that my stepfather had sold the advertising for the various publications of the 1939 World's Fair. Wish I'd known before he died, so I could pester him with questions.