Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

The Imprint
Jackson, F. Ernest Mason, J. H. Johnston, Edward
Persistente ID:
The Plain Dealer 
statement of fact, the clear-cut business method, has failed of its purpose. 
Reiteration is not arresting ; the names of things, too often repeated, grow 
meaningless. And save us, also, from another class of narrowness-the 
sign in kind. London would be a place of nightmare if every tea-shop had 
a parody of a boiling kettle for its insignia, and if instead of " Delicatessen " 
written in glass, a plaster chicken was swung across the pavement by 
every forbidding German who wears the white uniform of the greasy 
counter. Puns I do not so seriously object to. Sam Isaacs's pictured board 
with " The Plaice for Fish " inscribed on it is a constant delight. It breaks 
the monotony of words that nobody has dared or cared to play upon, 
of words too Hat for words. Every trader with a name that can be illustrated 
should be forced by law to make a pictorial show of himself instead of 
disiiguring the street with ugly lettering. Stagg and Mantle, ]ay's, Liberty, 
Fisher, Barker, Maple, Hope Bros., and the rest should all be given over 
to the ingenious device-maker. 
That way lies one remedy for ugly lettering ; another is lettering that 
is not ugly. But such a reform must begin with posters and all printed 
announcements, which for the present are abominable. While it is un- 
reasonable to ask for beauty from glass signs, designed and constructed by 
firms without any notion of beauty, merely that they shall appear as blatant 
by night as they do by day, it is not unreasonable to ask that poster-work 
should be decently devised. The hoardings and the Tubes bear witness to 
the utter failure of the printers to connect their craft with commercialism. 
The poster-collector no longer exists, not only because the picture-poster 
is no longer interesting but because the legend of the posters is invariably 
distressing. The poster-artist seldom does his own lettering ; he does 
not trouble to give character to the most important part of his design. 
A placard by Steinlen, with all the lettering by the artist, is before me as I 
write ; but it is the exception. An artist's design is generally handed over 
to the compositor to slap on his literature where he wills. The thing is not 
given to him to do because he has ideas, and can do his work well ; it is 
given him so that he may stamp it with the look of professionalism, of 
business, and save it from the reproach of real artistry. 
I, too, have a sign to put up ; and I, too, will probably fall a prey to 
a firm that makes square white letters in enamel on a ground of glass. My 
purse will not run to bevelled edges, thank Heaven ! or to a box with lights 
in it. If I escape, it will not be through a picture. The single good painted 
sign that I have discovered is "The Goat " in Kensington; and that was 


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