Imitating The New Yorker Cartoonists
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” This is the famous quote used since it was stated by the English cleric and writer, Charles Caleb Colton who lived from 1780 – 1832. Artists, through the years, have learned from each other and often there is an obvious similarity achieved in their work. I found that it was challenging to imitate the art styles of others. As a layout artist, I could present a particular artist’s style- — with the plan of the client hiring the artist known for that style.
In 1968, Charles Matheny Advertising was located on the second floor of the Belli Building (where I was beginning my graphic art career) we both admired James Thurber who was an American writer with a unique style of wit and humorous illustration. Thurber’s cartoons and short stories were published mostly in The New Yorker, and he was also a journalist and a playwright—
–but he could no longer be reached :
James Grover Thurber (December 8, 1894 – November 2, 1961).
So imitation was our answer.
I offered a similar “look” (not truly copying his style — not really fooling Thurber fans). Charles Matheny had a long career in copywriting for advertising. There were various campaigns for his client, California Casualty. These ads, folders and counter card show the art style that didn’t take much time to execute so it fit the client’s schedules and budget for this campaign.
In 1975, there were two ad campaigns, promoting the use of BankAmericard. I was to study Robert Weber’s cartoon style. His work was easy to find as his cartoons were also published often in The New Yorker magazine. Robert Maxwell Weber (April 22, 1924 – October 20, 2016) Known for over 1,400 cartoons that appeared in The New Yorker from 1962 to 2007 – this was an artist that could be reached in the 1970s ! The first ad shows Weber’s style. Next, my layout (imitating Weber’s style) and the final ad by Weber as printed in many publications.
With the second BofA ad — I again tried to guess the image that would sell the concept to the client, National BankAmericard Inc. (that I knew as NBI). (After all these years, my files are incomplete and I cannot remember the creative director that guided me.) I was not able to have a copy of the second final printed ad showing Weber’s final art — but here is the Xerox from those days that shows his plan. I was able to use this image in preparing the type and placement of the art before his final illustration arrived.
Maxwell “Bud” Arnold formed an advertising agency in 1970. He was creating effective advertising campaigns for clients but he also felt that he could use advertising to reach an audience on socially conscious issues. In September of 1976, for Maxwell Arnold’s client, Golden Gate Transit, I was asked to imitate a Charles Saxon style. (This was the only time that I had free-lanced for Mr. Arnold. He died May 24, 2013.)
After being an editor for Dell Publishing before and after his service in WW2, Saxon began his career as a very well know cartoonist — first for The Saturday Evening Post and in 1956 he started producing his outstanding 92 covers and 700 cartoons for The New Yorker.
Following the two SAXON covers, below, this was my “Saxonish” drawing that’s Bud Arnold submitted to Golden Gate Transit for an approval of style—
—but the finished art was assigned to still another artist who was showing in several popular magazines and also worked for year for Disney : Henry ‘Hank’ Syverson (October 5, 1918 – August 12, 2007) Besides being a constant cartoonist for the Saturday Evening Post, This Week and The New Yorker magazines, his drawings reached other countries with PAN AM Airways ads.
Here are some of Syverson’s creations :
The last ad appeared in October in the Marin County’s Independent Journal. It was then that I found out that the client had changed the artist from Charles Saxon to Hank Syverson.
“IT” Was An ATM !
In August of 1974, I was free-lancing at 300 Broadway, second floor. I was assigned the challenge of creating a new image for Redwood Bank. I began with the colors so popular in those years, magenta and red. Here you see, just portions of pages of development — the last section shows the developed logo used with the basic logo of each of the bank branches.
So busy was I, with the logo development, I wasn’t yet informed what this new “IT” was offering. As approved copy arrived for typesetting and I received my instructions for a line drawing of the “Instant Teller” — I saw that this was very different ! There were many promotional pieces required : newspaper ads, folders, bank displays, outdoor boards, taxi backs and more. (In the third item below which was produced to mail the IT card to the Redwood Bank account holder, you can see that this is just my mock-up of what would be the actual plastic card.)
I have to laugh at myself because at that time, I thought that this form of banking — using a piece of equipment instead of the personal interaction with a human bank teller — would never catch on. Then, when it was said that a person would do their banking out on the street — then I was sure this was risky and a “bad Idea”! Recently, I looked up the first installments of this kind of service. In the US, a patent record issued to Luther George Simjian shows his 132nd patent (US3079603), was first filed on June 30,1960. There are reports of many banking machines with many names developed in many countries, but the “Instant Teller” was new to this area. I must have been too absorbed in my work to even read or hear any news reports about the new convenience.
Promotional pins, T-shirts, and plastic tote bags —were added to the Redwood Bank’s campaign. When the equipment and the card that activated the Instant Teller were ready, this newspaper story (below) appeared in San Rafael’s Independent Journal on August 21, 1975 describing a period of time when the equipment would be practiced — inside the bank — to be followed by the installation OUTSIDE and available “24 hours a day, 365 days a year”! One of the last of my assignments was this round handout, a reminder to try “IT”.
There were many years when Redwood Bank offered this new method of banking at each of their branches. I never thought to take a photo when the bank had the large brightly colored images of the “IT’ logo at his location at 1447 Fourth Street, San Rafael, CA.— I thought it would, always, be there.
The first photo, the location, 1447 Fourth Street, as it was in 1964. The second photo is how it looks now. It was originally a Pacific Gas and Electric building. Today, it has two-tenants, a dental practice and herb store /clinic. The bank has become Redwood Credit Union at the Montecito Shopping Center on Third Street in San Rafael. It has a green color scheme and ATMs outside.
I found it odd that there is no Internet reference about the Redwood Bank and its branches, nor any reference to the 1975 introduction to “IT”! But recently, I found out that a personal friend, Ann Cameron, whose title at that time was Senior Operations Officer, Redwood National Bank, was at the bank at that time ! She was able to bring a huge scrapbook of photos, newspaper clippings and bank publications. I asked Ann for her personal experiences with the introduction of “IT”!
She wrote :
Getting the first ATM (we called the Instant Teller) in Marin Co. sounds cool. And Redwood Bank was a bastion of cool, at least in the corner offices ! But for those of us who had to make it work it was nightmare. For starters during the roll out we had to wear T-shirts that had the slogan, YOU’LL LOVE IT AT REDWOOD right across our chests. UGG we all hated it ! In the first iteration the money had to be loaded in to little envelopes, a five-dollar bill and a twenty. Then the envelopes were loaded into trays that fitted into the back of the machine. Of course it broke down all the time and many nights a client would call me at home to come down and give them money from the back of the IT. As it was free standing kiosk in the parking lot security was always an issue. Auditing would have been most displeased if they ever figured out we just opened the doors and doled out money. The next generation of IT did not use the envelopes. The currency was fed into the trays, $20.00 in the top tray and $10.00 bill in the bottom. Of course if you reversed the trays then the machine dispensed $20s where the $10s should be. I had a huge dog in those days and always took him with me on my night excursions to the Bank, my security. Interestingly during this same period Redwood was also experimenting with what is now on-line banking, we called it computer banking. We had a handful of clients who had access to their accounts via their home computer. Eventually the Bank decided they did not have the infrastructure for all the complicated programming that needed to be in place to make computer banking viable.
From the scrapbook, I show these additional images :
The first shows the outdoor installation of the Instant Teller located in the bank’s parking lot with a group photo of the bank’s employees in 1976.
Second, is a clipping from the Vallejo Independent Press, August 12,1979.
Third, two pages from the Redwood Bancorp Annual Report 1975, which describes Redwood Bank’s innovative approaches to banking. (The illustrator is not credited and most likely would have been one of our Geezers, back in the day.)
Color is important, Ask Alan
Color is important, Ask Alan Lefkort !
In the previous collection, I wanted to show the 1963 Award of Excellence for Direct Mail that was awarded to Alan Lefkort. The pages from the ADASF annual of that year were only in black and white. You will see that this winning design was not clear enough to show the image that made it a success.
I reached Alan to see if he could share the actual letterhead and envelope, for me to show here. He told the story of being told by Bob Pritikin that the stationery could only be printed in one color, black. Alan had to fight for color ! The whole advertising world knew that the copywriters used yellow legal tablets as they came up with a winning headline, body copy and all copy needed to reach the public in print and all other media of advertising.
As copy developed, there were a lot of ideas that the copywriter tossed to the wastebasket. This was the normal process until the best copy ideas were born.
1963 Award of Excellence San Francisco Art Directors and Artists Club
The small type at the bottom of the letterhead reads : Board of Directors /Howard Gossage, Peggy Greenfield, Hal Larson, Dan Lewis, Fred Manley, Hanley Norins, Bob Pritikin, Nelson Shreve, George Sutton, Julian Watkins.
Alan Lefkort was often “covering two bases”: art director and copywriter. He brought the two valuable talents to many San Francisco advertising agencies : McCann, Y&R, Dailey & Associates, D’Arcy-MacManus & Masius and Guild, Bascom & Bonfigli. Clever concepts of words and images came together in one place, on Alan’s drawing board. Visiting Alan, I saw a large collection of printed pieces of a variety of corporations that advertised through San Francisco’s talented teams.
The Advertising Club of San Francisco’s Cable Car Awards, 1981 publication was among Alan’s collection. This 48-page collection was called “The Sweepstakes Awards” because of the record amount of entries that year. Alan was the first ever to win the Marget Larsen Award for art direction. He was, at that time, vice-president and executive art director for Dailey & Associates, San Francisco.
Marget Larsen Award This was the art direction award that Alan received for the image that he created for this “Black and White Newspaper Ad” category even though his copy “Berth Announcement” was also a ‘winning’ copywriter’s line for the whole campaign for Philippine Airlines.
Graphic Designers Made Their Marks
San Francisco’s Graphic Designers Made Their Creative Marks
Illustration by John Craig. Type and page design by William P. Davis.
Walter Landor From the above report by Ken Kelley and Rick Clogher in the August 1992 issue of PBS KQED’s San Francisco Focus magazine :
Walter Landor came to San Francisco and founded Landor Associates in 1941. At that time, the only industrial designer around told him “that there was barely enough work to support one designer in San Francisco, let alone two”.
“The designs that have come out of Landor Associates in the past five decades — whether Walter’s own or those of his skilled colleagues — are a permanent part of our culture. But Landor’s greatest creation may be the least tangible one : he turned product brand and corporate identity design from a young, ill-defined field into a world-recognized profession. In the process, he turned San Francisco — his adopted home — into a creative hub of those fields.”
These pages : Communication Arts May /June 1980
Marget Larsen As art director for Joseph Magnin, a store catering to young, smart tastes, Marget was involved in retail newspaper advertising. Her design and use of color, with illustrations by Betty Brader Ashley, built an image for the store. All of the JM design was handled internally and Marget also did the brochures and packaging.
She designed many of the ads for the San Francisco agency Weiner & Gossage or Freeman Mander & Gossage or whatever name they were operating under that week, and also worked as a partner in Intrinsics, Inc. with Robert Freeman. Intrinsics created and marketed design products and offered creative consulting to clients. “Marget was responsible for so many innovations, and was the very embodiment of ‘What if?’” said Freeman. “She, probably as much as any other, changed the look of advertising and graphics in the last generation.” Ca
This copy, above, is from the Communication Arts web site. They offer (digital) back copies at : https://store.commarts.com/single-copy?Page=35. The story of Marget Larsen is in the March /April 1988 issue.
One of the most outstanding of Marget’s talents was the complete visual identity that she created for the 1907 Del Monte Cannery (at one time the largest peach cannery in the world). The property was being converted into shops and restaurants just steps from Fisherman’s Wharf. The basic identity design was one that she adapted from the tie-rod washers that held up the massive brick structures. She convinced the developers to alter a whole outside wall to accommodate her Cannery Star. You can see in the signs, the tie-rod washer in the center of the star.
In addition to the massive amount of recognized accomplishments, Marget’s personal collection of her art has been made available at : margetlarsen(dot)com.
A collection from 1958 and years : 1963 to 1967. I found that graphic designers were, and are, often creating other design assignments when a new mark is required. One didn’t have to specialize as an “image maker”. The logos, here, were accepted entries in the ADASF (Art Directors and Artists of San Francisco) Annual Exhibition, years : 1958 and 1963, ’64 ’65 ’66 and ‘67.
Most logos are used as business stationery. In 1964 no individual marks were shown. “Direct Mail” was the classification title that year. The two examples were “Identity Images”: G. Dean Smith created the wild-flower cover to represent the Curry Company at Yosemite Park. The little flag held by the figure on the string was sent by mail to tell that : “Nicolas Sidjakov — is moving to — 633 Montgomery St. — San Francisco — EX 27754.” 1966 had an extensive category : Trade Marks, Letterheads, Logotypes, Lettering. The Walter Landor Associates’ entry was the full alphabet designed for the California Wine Association. They named the type style “Klamath” which was the name of their ferryboat, as described above.
To those designers, whose creations I have missed, I apologize.
Some of the logos in the annual publications were too small to show.
Photographers Art Directing Themselves
Photographers Who Art-Directed Their Own Photographs.
My schooling and first jobs as an illustrator /graphic designer had been varied, but I had no experience in directing a photographer — on location or in a photo studio. After viewing an art director’s layout or being informed of a client’s wishes — most, or maybe all, professional commercial photographers have the talent to capture a required image. The art director attending is probably only there to witness the photographer in action, suggest minor changes or is just happy to get out of the agency for the day.
Below, I show a variety of subjects for a commercial need where the photographers needed no “art direction”.
In the late 1960s, I was still at my location at the south-east edge of North Beach, S.F. — the home and work locations of many Italian/Catholics. I was offered designing assignments from one of my steady clients, Alessandro Baccari, who had his office (always a wonderful walk to and from) the Maybeck Building at 1736 Stockton Street, near the Saints Peter and Paul Church on Washington Square. In 1967, he referred a representative of the Catholic publication, Catholic Home Messenger, to my studio. I was supplied all of the photos that were to reflect the copy that was written for an eight page insert for their publication. The subject was “Loneliness”. The only additional photo that I needed was one that had to have a vague background image that would cover the first and last page of the insert. It needed to be ambiguous by showing an unidentifiable person. A weekend visit to Golden Gate Park was the first time that I art-directed a shoot.
1967 — (my job #223) Catholic Home Messenger 1 Pg : “Loneliness”
Photographer, Tom Vano, had his own personal pet-project for the College of Holy Names in Oakland. Tom’s photos of the campus and the classes were delivered to me at the time that I received the assignment to design a brochure. Its purpose was to include an invitation to financially support the new planned developments for the college. I was to draw the map with each proposed building and open area, shown with dashed lines. The brochure was written by Morrison Stewart and offered in three languages : English, Chinese and Spanish which were type-set by Reardon and Krebs.
My paste-up boards went to the agency, Alessandro Baccari and Associates — then sent to Hogan-Kaus Lithography for printing. A week later, a set of printed copies was sent to me.
I never even met Tom Vano, but I received word, much later, that he was very pleased with my arrangement of his photos. He knew his subject very well. Had I been to the photo shoot, I would have learned from him, but I would have been of no help. Before this assignment, I hadn’t even known of the college.
1968 — (my job #321) College of Holy Names 1 cover + 5 pages (#3,4,5,6,7)
Later, in 1974, when working on a brochure for U.S, Leasing, I needed the simple subject of marbles. The cover needed a photo of a child’s hand as in a game of “Marbles”.
A call to photographer, Earl Wood, was all that was needed. Earl had an extensive portfolio of his photographs showing his past efforts in shooting intricate subjects. This job was simple. He left the studio and returned with a lot of shots of various marbles. He had called our mutual friend, Dave Nelson (a top lettering man at the Logan, Carey & Rehag art studio) — and arranged for Dave’s son, Chris, to be the model. Earl directed his own “table-top” (or ground-level?) shot. The photos were exactly what the client wanted.
1974 — (my job #1192) US Leasing NCR Folder (Cover and inside Cover)
Larry Keenan. Jr. was known for his “reporting syle” of photography. (See his link at the column at the right.)
As I was sketching thumb-nail ideas for the up-coming San Francisco Ballet’s holiday poster for the “Nutcracker”, Larry visited the studio and offered to try some experimentation using an existing photo from the ballet’s collection. On his return, days later, Larry said that he tried a series of filters and achieved this ”Holiday Ornament” look, transformed from the original image. He had worked without any direction. The client accepted this effect, exactly as he presented it. The image was used for full-sized posters, small posters, direct mail (which offered ticket prices and performance times). All items were printed at Pisani Press.
1974 – 1975 (my job#1271) “Nutcracker” 1 Poster
December 22, 1975. I had never met George H. Knight before he appeared with a full envelope of the photographs that he had taken, from all across the country. He had been contracted directly by Consolidated Freightways. The photographs had been taken along one of the many routes of the CF trucks. Who could go wrong, designing around photographs like these ? I tried to imagine all of the planning that this man had to do before capturing each subject.
We, in the studio, affectionately referred to George as “the cat in the hat”. George was a nice and hard working photographer who seemed to always be wearing his plaid, pork-pie hat : rain or shine, outdoors or indoors. I knew, or knew of, many commercial photographers in San Francisco. Here was George Knight, a low-key and unassuming talent. I learned later of his respected reputation that included historic reporting of the changing views of San Francisco.
I had the assignment of designing the 1975 Consolidated Freightways’ 200th Anniversary annual report. I had no influence on photo subject matter other than the selection or cropping of George’s photos.
As the photos were laid out, in the sequence that a CF shipment would make on its journey east to west — it was the perfect opportunity to show the old and the new views of each location depicted. Adding old images and photographs available from archives — the report became an entertaining story, along with the charts and financial copy important to Consolidated Freightways stockholders. As an ”extra”, I had the idea of creating a map of our country’s original trails. I was glad that the client “went for it”!
This story is also about the way the representative of Consolidated Freightways was kept from knowing that a female was designing their annual report. I supposed, that he believed “trucking” was a man’s world. I had to hide all images of the project from my work area, whenever he visited the studio. I was kept out of the conference room when my layout of the full thirty-six pages, was presented by the two men in our studio.
By March of 1976, this CF client may have found out that I had designed the whole job — this was when a framed award arrived in the mail for me, showing my name as graphic designer “for the 1975 Annual Report of Consolidated Freightways, Inc.” (An additional report of this award — might have reached him.)
Without George Knight’s expertise in choice of location, timing and general hard work that was needed to provide me with these highly professional photos — I would not have had the inspiration to put all of these pages together making a unique annual report celebrating the CF’s 200th year.
12 – 22-1975 — (my job #1450) Consolidated Freightways 1975 Annual Report (Cover + Spreads 1 — 9)