NEW PATTERNS IN PRODUCT INFORMATION
Ladislav Sutnar and K. Longberg-Holm
Ladislav Sutnar and K. Longberg-Holm: CATALOG DESIGN: NEW PATTERNS IN PRODUCT INFORMATION. NYC: Sweet's Catalog Service, 1944. Quarto. Wire spiral-bound paper-covered boards. Yellow vellum endsheets. Unpaginated. Exceptionally graphic text, diagrams and photographs. Boards lightly worn to edges, with spiral binding catching on the spine heel, resulting in chewing to the botton three perforations. Small private inkstamp to front vellum endsheet, otherwise interior unmarked. White letterpressed pages bright, tight and clean. A very good or better copy of a rare book; only the second copy I have seen, and the only one in collectible condition.
The fine press craftsmen of William E. Rudge's Sons glimpsed the future when they printed CATALOG DESIGN for Sweet's Catalog Service in 1944. Designer Ladislav Sutnar expanded his 16-page thesis CONTROLLED VISUAL FLOW, published in 1943 by Marquardt & Company Fine Papers as part of their Design and Paper series, into a fully-realized system for producing complex and harmonious data sets.
Minimum means, maximum effect -- that was Sutnar's Czechoslovak principle. The overall effect of CATALOG DESIGN is truly amazing.
- a - design standards
- catalog function
- catalog content
- catalog format
- b - design elements
- visual unit
- c - design patterns
- single product catalogs
- group product catalogs
- service catalogs
CATALOG DESIGN gave Sutnar a tremendous pulpit for formulating and demonstrating his ideas on the ebb and flow of information. He was the first to use the horizontal area of a spread for organizing information with the idea of dynamic reading and continuous visual flow. He designed the double-page in such a manner that it would be immediately scanned then would quickly provide the details required. Diagrams, widely used even prior to World War II as a means of visualization and rationalization,were effectively used by Sutnar in designing his catalogs. Continuous flow of hierarchically-structured information was effected by the laws of optics and psychology of perception.
Sutnar's information design, based on factual scholarly research,was executed in a creative form. While seemingly simple, Sutnar's information schemes are quite sophisticated,yet at the same time visually attractive and imaginative.They are fascinating because of their brilliant balance between the strict logic of hierarchical structure and playful imagination ,the rational and irrational, both science and art. Sweet's catalogues are considered foundling work in the field of information design.
Iva Janáková (Curator of Exhibitions and Head of the Prints Department at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague and editior of "Ladislav Sutnar Prague New York Design in Action.")
According to Steven Heller: "... Ladislav Sutnar was a progenitor of the current practice of information graphics, the lighter of a torch that is carried today by Edward Tufte and Richard Saul Wurman, among others. For a wide range of American businesses, Sutnar developed graphic systems that clarified vast amounts of complex information, transforming business data into digestible units. He was the man responsible for putting the parentheses around American telephone area-code numbers when they were first introduced."
"As impersonal as the area-code design might appear, the parentheses were actually among Sutnar's signature devices, one of many he used to distinguish and highlight information. As the art director, from 1941 to 1960, of F.W. Dodge's Sweet's Catalog Service, America's leading distributor and producer of trade and manufacturing catalogues, Sutnar developed various typographic and iconographic navigational devices that allowed users to efficiently traverse seas of data. His icons are analogous to the friendly computer symbols used today."
"He made Constructivism playful and used geometry to create the dynamics of organization," says Noel Martin, who was a member of Sutnar's small circle of friends in the late 1950s."
A true high point of American Graphic Design.
out of stock