1000 PRACTICAL SHOW CARD LAYOUTS & Color Sketches 1928 SCARCE FIRST PRINTING Old School Sign Writing
1000 PRACTICAL SHOW CARD LAYOUTS ..and Color Sketches by H.C. Martin
Published by The Signs Of The Times Publishing Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, 1928. First edition. Hardcover, red pebbled cloth with embossed white printing on the front cover, 10.75" x 8", 240 pages, illustrated with 93 full page b&w plates of various show card examples. VERY GOOD CONDITION: the covers have a touch of light wear to the corner-tips and spine-ends, internally a penciled 1929 former owners name and address on the ffep, light wear to the fore-edge from thumbing, some tiny spotting here and there otherwise, tight, bright, clean and unmarked, a bright and solid copy of this scarce 1928 trade publication.
The definitive book on the old school art of hand lettered sign writing, invaluable to anyone in the graphic arts. A fascinating collection of practical advice and sample sign layouts, this H.C. Martin scarce first edition is one of the most influential sign writing books ever published, a testament to the power of visual promotion it's filled with concepts, ideas, layouts, graphic elements, lettering styles, and instructs the show card writer how to advertise their services and add value to their business.
Show cards are advertising signs that are hand lettered and placed in shop windows or near displays to promote retail sales or events. An offshoot of sign painting, show card writing proliferated in the late 19th century and quickly became the marketing tool of choice. Show card writing became a lucrative profession, with trade schools opening and instructional books published in the early 20th century. Interestingly, show cards are ephemeral and rarely preserved and thus largely absent from the cultural record. Show card manuals are thus an invaluable resource for understanding the practice of show card writing. Show card manuals educate the student on all aspects of the industry, from the proper materials to letter formation, color schemes, and layout. Show card writing remained a significant aspect of the sign painting trade well into the twentieth century, despite technological advances in printing these signs evoke a certain nostalgia and humanity that computerized, machine made signs can never inspire.
Harold C. Martin (b. 1890-?) Display sign artist, author, creator of the art deco alphabet Modern Thick and Thin.