October '20

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 0 O C T O B E R G R A P H I C S P R O 8 3 stand its progression and to appreciate its infinite variation and style. EN VOGUE I happened to notice in the mid 1970s that the austere, corporate look in graph- ics that was then popular (Helvetica, Hel- vetica, and more Helvetica) was giving way to a deliberately elaborate and flour- ished trend. The psychedelic '60s had made their mark on Madison Avenue, and a reworked, ersatz version of "Victo- rian" was suddenly in vogue. Every denim label and granola bar seemed ripe for the treatment, which had somehow gained the inexplicable cache of "organic." Three-quarters of a century af- ter its supposed demise, the hand-lettered charm of that earlier style seemed to be just the thing needed: wholesome, solid, and traditional. An ad-man's pitch. At- kinson was back. I have included a few examples of my own explorations in the form—even a cover I designed for a historic NBM pub- lication called Sign Business (has it really been 27 years ago?). I'm certain my fond- ness for the style will be apparent; I cut my professional teeth in its pursuit. To be sure, a Victorian send-up isn't appropriate for every situation; plainer solutions are often required. But (since you are design-savvy), you have noticed its influence in the branding of your favorite craft brew, on the latest concert poster, and in the gilt logo of the local tattoo parlor, haven't you? Look closely. It seems that a new crew of designers and artisans have picked up the spin, and they are making Victorian their own. They look terrific in those jeans! GP For 48 years, MARK OATIS has worked in all phases of the sign industry, on projects worldwide. He is Creative Director at YESCO's Las Vegas division. National Business Media commissioned Mark Oatis to create this design for its an- nual supplies hand- book is 1993. The original art measures 3 by 4 feet and was hand painted in oil- based sign enamels. (Design and image courtesy Mark Oatis) Our Colorado location afforded us the opportunity to develop brand campaigns and graphic programs for clients within the region's historic communities. Victorian styling proved a logical fit. (Design and image courtesy Mark Oatis) Carved and sandcarved wood are well suited to the Victorian tradition—specialty de- sign from 1986. (Design and image courtesy Mark Oatis) Victorian flair seems espe- cially apt when presented as a sidewalk chalkboard application in basic black and white. Why does the florid composition and decorative lettering say "appetizing" to the viewer? Who knows, but it seems to work. (Design and image courtesy Rose and Mark Oatis)

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