Thursday, February 14, 2013

Understanding taxes / IRS / 1978

I have always thought and I bet it’s a minority view among designer folk, that the most challenging and stimulating design jobs are those that use a minimum of creative resources: an airline timetable; financial pages of an Annual Report; Post Office Customs Declaration label or the example below from the IRS in 1977.  Though it has four color it is essentially a black and white (12.75 by 10.75 inches) forty page booklet full of copy and sample tax forms. 
     It could look deadly dull but it isn’t because someone has put a lot of creative thought into the presentation.  The thick and thin rules across the top of each page, the large chapter numbers, four column pages which vary in depth and ragged right copy predictably set in Helvetica, the universal typeface.  Just to prove it's not all taxing the back page has a crossword based on the copy though I've never found out where the answers are.  
     What gives all the pages a lift are the illustrations which blend in perfectly with the relevant copy.  I particularly like the cover with its interesting graphic and typography.  It was made into a poster and hangs in the IRS headquarters.  Oddly there no design or illustration credits.  

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