February 13 Creative Logo


A bit of news, a bit of inspiration, a bit of new work... a bit random, a bit blogish. “bits” is where it all hangs out.

creative profession


In the wayback, my grandma gave our family Treasury of American Design by Clarence P. Hornung (1950, Harry N. Abrams). It's a hard-bound, two-volume set that features beautifully detailed illustrations of functional and decorative objects (dating from approximately 1890 and earlier) created by American artisans.

When I was a kid, I loved poring over the pictures in these books, absorbing the incredible array of forms, patterns and decorative motifs. I recently rediscovered Treasury in my parents' bookshelf and was fascinated to read that the illustrations in it were originally created between 1935 and 1942 as part of the Index of American Design, which was a project of the Works Progress Administation's Federal Art Project. The Index was one of many FAP projects developed with the goal of employing artists during the Depression.

I have a lot to say about why I think these books are cool, and I hope you'll look at some of the links above to learn more about the Index and the FAP if you don't already know about them. But the main reason I'm thinking about all this today is because I recently learned that the Obama re-election campaign is holding a design contest to solicit original poster art promoting Obama's job creation plan. It's basically a crowd-sourcing effort by the Obama campaign to get valuable art and design without paying for it. The very special irony, of course, is that the purpose of the art will be to promote employment opportunities. The Graphic Artists Guild has done a great job of summarizing everything that gets me riled about this. I would only add:

  • If you're a creative professional, never forget that what you do can have real and lasting value. Take yourself seriously. Show your clients why you're worth it. Be an advocate for yourself and your profession.
  • If you're someone who relies on the creativity of designers or artists for your business, take a moment to think about the value of that creative effort. Where would your business be without it? Isn't it, in many cases, at least as valuable as the other services you pay for without hesitation? Dig deep for your favorite creative professional and you'll be rewarded many times over!
[Note: the images above are from Uncommon Eye, a wonderful Etsy shop where the pictured copy of Treasury of American Design is for sale. It looks to be in beautiful condition... grab it!]
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so very true. without art and design the world would be a very drab place. White paper, muslin fabric, blank greeting cards, solid rugs, white dishes...It is the art that SELLS and captivates the imagination and desires of the consumers. In this economy art is more important than ever and should be treated that way.

Rob+Bob Mon, 10/17/2011 - 16:25
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I'm still trying to figure that out. I sent an email to info@barackobama.com, which was where the call for submissions came from. I'll keep looking. In the meanwhile, perhaps the best way is to just spread the word.

Betsy Mon, 10/17/2011 - 15:09
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No way! Any suggestions about where to direct a complaint to the campaign?

Anonymous Mon, 10/17/2011 - 14:33
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