Scanning Around With Gene: A Final Farewell

Since I announced my retirement from Scanning Around With Gene last week, the kind and thoughtful comments from readers have overwhelmed me and I want to thank everyone who chimed in online and those who sent me personal emails. Sometimes over the years I wondered if anyone was actually reading my efforts and it’s tremendously gratifying to discover that at least some of the topics made an impression. It makes all the late nights and early mornings (I do have a day job after all) more than worthwhile. Thanks again.

For my last column I wanted to keep things light and upbeat, so I decided to simply pore through all the old installments and grab a few images that caught my eye for whatever reason. Unfortunately this resulted in a collection of over 200 scans, so I’ve had to make drastic cuts to narrow things down to a reasonable amount, but this is still my longest column ever, so please be patient.

In reviewing my past columns I discovered a couple of themes, so I’m grouping images together that way, even though they may not have had anything to do with each other when they originally ran. But I had to start somewhere. First up, are a couple of classic icons I wrote about, the Happy Face and Peace Sign. Click on any image for a larger version.

I think I covered the general topic of safety more than any other – many of my favorite images come from various safety pamphlets, bicycle safety guides, fire-safety brochures and insurance-company propaganda.

Animals appeared many times throughout the years, whether in columns about dog costumes, poodles or mail-order pets.

I’m a sucker for bad interior design, and throughout the years I covered kitchens, shag carpeting, macramé and many other topics that wouldn’t quite cut it in today’s homes.

I love educational and propaganda material and many examples have populated various columns.

Over the years I’ve done my best to write about fine typography, typographic trends, and even individual typographers, but I must admit my favorite images tend toward the typographic unusual or decorative type.

And I love hand-lettering as an art form, so I’ve covered that, as well.

One of my favorite communication styles is that of the comic book, and I’ve scanned many, many examples, from boy-heroes to alcoholics.

Posted on: February 8, 2013

Gene Gable

Gene Gable has spent a lifetime in publishing, editing and the graphic arts and is currently a technology consultant and writer. He has spoken at events around the world and has written extensively on graphic design, intellectual-property rights, and publishing production in books and for magazines such as Print, U&lc, ID, Macworld, Graphic Exchange, AGI, and The Seybold Report. Gene's interest in graphic design history and letterpress printing resulted in his popular columns "Heavy Metal Madness" and "Scanning Around with Gene" here on

40 Comments on Scanning Around With Gene: A Final Farewell

  1. Gene,

    Your column has been a favorite of mine for the last few years. I have truly looked forward to it every Friday. Best of luck in the future and thanks for all the sometimes inspirational and sometimes downright funny images over the years.

    R Norton

  2. I SEND YOU ALL-CAPS SALUTATIONS AND APPRECIATIVE THOUGHTS! Looking forward to seeing what comes next from you. Thanks for all the years of awesome insights.

  3. I loved your column! Thank you for all the fun fille fridays these last 10 years. YOu are going to be missed Gene. Thanks for making creativity a fun place to be. All the best to you

    George M Zandt

  4. Your columns have been a joy to read, and I’ll miss them. Maybe you’ll write some guest columns here at CreativePro; if so, we the readers will be here to read them. All the best to you and yours as you go on to other things (such as more leisure time, perhaps). See you later!

  5. Thanks, Gene. I LOVED the column and marveled at your wide range of interests and knowledge. I also was really touched by comments about your childhood and family. My Fridays will never be quite the same. Much luck to you.
    J Currer

  6. I have enjoyed your wonderful scans of those print materials of memories of past days, as well as your commentaries. I always looked forward to seeing your column appear in my email and will miss your reminders of “the way we were”—funny, sad, low tech, style-challenged, etc. Enjoy your retirement and if you get bored after a few months (this DOES happen!) you can always come back! Your fans would love it! Thanks for all the special memories you’ve brought back into focus for those of us who can remember…

  7. Friday’s will never be the same :–(
    Best wishes for all things in your future!!!
    Cheers, Gene!

  8. Thank you for resurrecting images and concepts from so many stages of my own life — from “how to draw” books from my childhood, to Letraset sheets from the early years of my graphic arts career. Makes me realize how far so many things have come!

  9. Always giggled over the old educational and informative materials and the amusing way that marketing used to spin gender roles and manipulate its audience. Very entertaining and historically insightful look back at my chosen profession. 🙂

  10. You’ve made a lot of people happy over the years, Gene, including me. I hope we work together again!

    Your fan,

    Terri Stone

  11. I’m sorry I haven’t been commenting all the years I’ve been reading your column. Thank you for all the entertaining, informative and nostalgic blog posts. I’m gonna miss you.

  12. Wow, Gene, I’m really going to miss those scans. Thanks for the entertainment.

  13. How will we go on without your words to live by like, “Don’t smoke while playing Santa”? You are leaving us with such an uncertain future – it is unclear if any of us will survive!

    Seriously, you were my Friday morning coffee break re-living how we got in this profession in the first place. I’d like to think for a few minutes a week we were all members of an elite designer club who actually knew what a rapidograph was or rubylith. Not that it made us better – just more appreciative of the process.

    Thank you Gene!

  14. Great stuff you’ve provided us all over the years. Thanks!

  15. I’ve enjoyed your columns so often over the years … I’m sad to see them end. Keep in touch with CreativePro so we know what you’re up to, and enjoy yourself. Thank you!

    Anne-Marie Concepcion

  16. Gene,

    So sad to hear you are retiring. I always look forward to reading your article every Friday and I will miss it very much. Have a great retirement!


  17. Thanks, Gene! For making me feel old . . . I remember all of this stuff!

    I really have read/viewed many of your columns and enjoyed them! Thanks!

  18. Wishing you a happy, healthy retirement. Have truly enjoyed your columns over the years and will miss them. Thank you.

  19. We are going to miss you! Good fortune in your future work and adventures!!!

  20. Really have enjoyed your insight and humor over the years … I’ll miss the weekly journey into the past which was a much-needed respite the toil and trouble of the day. Thanks and best of luck!

  21. Thanks for all the great reads. Aldus Pagemaker. LOL. I remember that. Best wishes to you and yours.

  22. Gene:

    What can I say? You column brought back so many memories, I truly enjoyed each one. Plus to see how design has evolved over the years.
    You will be missed.
    Sheila Johnston

  23. From one retiree to another: Live long and prosper my friend. May the sun shine in your face enough to annoy you and let you forget the cold wind at your back.

    Thanks for all the trips down memory lane.

  24. Thank you for these very enjoyable posts. I will miss them in the future. All the best to you.

  25. You will be missed!!!!

  26. Thanks for so many year bring us these informational and vintage designs. We´ll miss you. Greeting from Mexico

  27. I don’t know if you have hear about Darwin the pet monkey that was found loose in an Ikea parking lot but this reminded me of him, we were all wondering host she got him into the country .it is illegal to have a pet lie this in Toronto.
    I am sure he made it to you tube ,thanks for all your great columns we will mis you
    Shirley Franklin

  28. I’m sorry to see you go. I’ve enjoyed your columns over the years and wish you well on your next endeavor, whatever it may be!

    Thanks-George Denzinger

  29. We come from the same time period so everything you ever had in your columns meant so much to me because I was experiencing many of the same things. We will miss your interesting insights into all things “arty.” Enjoy your less stressful days.

  30. Thank you very much for an informative and entertaining column. I always enjoyed perusing the various images and never ceased to be amazed at the seemingly endless variety of subject matter.

    Thanks again.
    Bruce P.

  31. Boy, did I WANT those wigs. A friend actually had them and they were da bomb! After wearing them for 20 minutes in the Florida heat (early 60’s no air conditioning) your real hair was drenched in sweat and plastered to your skull. No matter! Your vinyl hair was still perfect.

    Surprisingly, my mother did not share my desire and refused to waste good money on “plastic crap.”

    Scarred for life….maybe that’s why I have issues with my hair even to this day.

    Thanks for all your columns. I have enjoyed them immensely. They were one of my favorites – and always brought smiles and memories.

  32. Thanks, Gene, for providing years of enjoyment for me here. I hate to admit it, but it’s been pretty much the only reason I visit anymore.

  33. Gene, you will be missed! In fact, I miss you already.


  34. Your column will be greatly missed.

  35. I’ll miss your columns very much! Aside from the natural excitement for the weekend that Fridays bring, I have always looked forward to your columns as well. Best of luck on your new path and thank you so much for all of the great subjects and images you gave us through the years.

  36. May you always have work for your hands to do.
    May your pockets hold always a coin or two.
    May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.
    May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
    May the hand of a friend always be near you.
    And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

  37. Gene,
    I will miss your column on Fridays. Thanks for doing a great job and always coming up with some really interesting and unusual images! I’ll always remember winning the contest for the old album covers! You’re the best!
    Pat in Missouri

  38. Hi, Gene,

    I’m going to miss this column. I’m sorry if you ever felt unappreciated. I’ve enjoyed them tremendously and will revisit them from time to time.


  39. You will be missed.

  40. Thanks Gene for the peek into your personal likes and dislikes. I wish you the best, and I’m sure I speak for all when I say that if you need to do a guest column every once in a while, it will be welcomed.

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