The design & printing of ephemera in Britain & America, 1720-1920

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British Library, 2008 - Antiques & Collectibles - 159 pages
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Ephemera has been collected for many years, but only recently has it become widely accepted as material for academic study. This is the first book to discuss ephemera as an aspect of design history, showing how function, production process and period have affected the changing appearance of billheads, trade cards, flyers, playbills and other ephemera. This book explores the closely interwoven printing histories of Britain and America. American colonial printers and engravers imported British type and equipment, took instruction from the same manuals and were guided by the same exemplars as their British counterparts, a relationship that continued through the first half of the nineteenth century. Following the Civil War, American graphic design and typography began to establish distinctive identities, with developments in color printing bringing an efflorescence of color-rich trade cards, cigar-box labels and other chromolithographed ephemera that was essentially American. Nevertheless, ideas continued to be shared across the Atlantic. American foundries devised entirely original typefaces that were imported into Britain, yet the development of expertise in designing with these new faces depended on printers learning from one another, and the scheme of specimen exchange that successfully achieved this was wholly devised and administered from London. Richly illustrated with letterforms, engravings, drawings and the reproduction of over 200 items of ephemera, many in full color, this is a book for collectors, students, design historians and all with an interest in the visual arts.

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The iron press
The rise of lithography

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About the author (2008)

Graham Hudson is secretary and a founding member of the Ephemera Society and was a senior lecturer teaching graphic design at the Kent Institute of Art & Design.