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Fed up with mediocrity
School of Visual Arts Collection. Folio 8 for Sanders Printing Corporation, 1964.
October 25, 2014

Fed up with mediocrity

By: bethkleber

In 1964, the Sanders Printing Corporation invited SVA’s graduating class to produce its periodic promotional publication, Folio. In an insert, Seymour Sanders jovially noted that some of his friends were concerned that an issue designed by art students was bound to be a fiasco. Of course, he was delighted that Folio 8 turned out to be “as distinguished and professional as any of the earlier issues.” But he got down to business on the back cover, lobbing his grenade in the Great Paper Company Wars of the 60s.

Colorful and grey text against black background; text is readable in a vertical column or horizontally it reads "No one can sell fine printing at the cheapest prices in town. That's obvious. But if you are fed up with mediocrity and accept it because you believe that is all you can afford, you may be surprised to learn how little more printing-by-sanders would cost you. Let's talk it over". Each sentence adds to the following sentence. For example, "No on. No one can sell. No one cal sell fine printing" Each new words that are added in are a different vibrant color than the rest of the sentence.

 
School of Visual Arts Collection. Folio 8 for Sanders Printing Corporation, 1964.

Sanders’ overconfident ad talk contrasts nicely with an essay in Folio 8 entitled “Industry’s Responsibility to the Gifted” by SVA founder Silas H. Rhodes, who took the opportunity to present a serious-minded argument in favor of art education that is both practical and demanding. SVA was founded as a trade school in 1947 and as its mission expanded Rhodes decried the fact that art schools were so eager “to avoid the stigma of vocationalism, [they] ignore[d] the problem of livelihood. No one has ever suggested that at Harvard the preparation of ministers for the ministry or stock brokers for the stock exchange is illiberal or vocational.” Needless to say, “Art school” and “vocationalism” are generally not uttered in the same breath any more.

In any case, Folio 8 is indeed exemplary. George Tscherny and Louis Donato served as faculty advisors and Tscherny’s influence is evident. The illustration portion reflects the impact of instructors like Robert Weaver and Phil Hays.

A photo of a page from a booklet that show several graphic designs and a photo. The top 3 graphic designs are posters. They're all minimalistic with flat colors. At the bottom is a graphic design for a book cover, made with the primary colors and big bold white font. Next to it is a black-and-white photo a a electronic box.

 
School of Visual Arts Collection. Folio 8 for Sanders Printing Corporation, 1964.

A photo of a page from a booklet. On the left is a line of square going vertical, in each square is a black-and-white text graphic design made by students. On the right are two colored photos of design for covers made by students.

 
School of Visual Arts Collection. Folio 8 for Sanders Printing Corporation, 1964.

A photo of a page in a booklet.There are 4 black-and-white illustration made by students. Each one is a different style depicting different subjects.

 
School of Visual Arts Collection. Folio 8 for Sanders Printing Corporation, 1964.

This post also appears on our Picturebox blog.