Scanning Around With Gene: Groovy Graphic Design from 1967

Strolling through the aisles of a giant used-book sale for the Marin Public Library recently resulted in me filling two big grocery bags with books. One of them was a small, mostly black-and-white volume published in 1967 by the Art Directors Club of Los Angeles, highlighting the winning entries from their 22nd annual “art in the west” competition.

The entries, which were judged by a distinguished panel of graphic designers and advertising executives, including Saul Bass, were also displayed in an exhibition at the California Museum of Science and Industry and seen by more than 175,000 attendees. Click on any image in this column for a larger view.

To say there was a theme is an understatement — the panel was obviously impressed by very colorful and what might be called trendy illustrations that seem, well, right out of the Sixties. Take these award-of-merit winners from a local stat house, aptly called The Stat House. Not only do they take you back in time from a design perspective, but also from a production one. Do you remember stats and Veloxes? And check out the cheap prices!

Or how about these groovy posters for a local clothing outlet called Cole of California? You don’t see type like that in use today.

And here’s an illustration for the cover of Cat Fancy magazine, a Duke Ellington record album cover, an illustration for a local media firm called Westinghouse Broadcasting Company, and billboard ads for a popular local morning disc jockey.

Even the black and white work is very Sixties. Here’s an ad for a local paper rep, a self-promotion photo for Compton Advertising, an ad for a local men’s clothing store called Dorfman’s, and a poster for the Monterey Jazz Festival.

There’s much, much more on page 2.

Posted on: December 11, 2009

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

7 Comments on Scanning Around With Gene: Groovy Graphic Design from 1967

  1. I especially enjoyed this (since I’m old). And I wanted to let you know there is still a waterbed store in Manhattan, KS.

  2. …I think it gave me flashbacks!

    I love seeing the boldness mixed with what is now seen as design naivete. It certainly seemed fresh at the time, at least to me.

    But then I remember 8-tracks, Nehrus & waterbeds as well…mostly because I detested all three.

    Thanks for another brilliant flash of nostalgia, Gene.

    – – – – – – – – – –
    Sanity is a relative concept.
    If you don’t believe me, let me introduce my relatives.
    – – – – – – – – – –

  3. I saw the typeface you mentioned used this winter (2009) on bottles of beer- Bell’s Winter Ale (from Michigan, USA) uses it.

  4. Talk about nostalgia…my grandfather was the founder/owner of Bergelectric, and I remember the logo well. What a kick to see it in this portfolio with an “award of distinctive merit”. Thanks for a little stroll down memory lane.

  5. remembering these is not such a bad thing, and thanks, Gene! The saying goes that history repeats itself, and I was a part of that history as an AD at McCann-Erickson (NYC). There were “fun” faces and playful ads, and looking back, the timing was perfect. Am still working, but history certainly isn’t repeating itself…yet!

  6. Gene,
    Just ‘tripped” across this posting now. A great bit of time traveling. One minor correction – Westinghouse Broadcasting (otherwise know as Group W) was a national company, with radio and TV stations in major markets. They were also a syndicated program producer of shows like the Mike Douglas Show.

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