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Shop America: Mid-Century Storefront Design, 1938-1950 [Hardcover]

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Item description for Shop America: Mid-Century Storefront Design, 1938-1950 by Steven Heller...

Window shopping In postwar America, everything pointed to a bright, shiny future. Sheer optimism and opulence informed everything from automobile design to architecture, infusing design with larger-than-life planes and curves. Storefront design of the era is particularly indicative of this phenomenon, incarnated here in an extensive collection of hand-illustrated shop window designs from 1938 to 1950. These spectacular, often grandiose plans for grocery stores, shoe shops, beauty salons, bakeries, and more are reminders of a time when stores were sacred shrines for the congregation of American shoppers?impressive and even slightly intimidating, just like the future itself. Collected for this unique book, the designs viewed in retrospect reveal the mindset of a unique period in history. In addition to an extensive selection of drawings are historical black and white photographs of actual shops built in a similar style. Shop America offers a rare look at mid-century commercial America as it pictured itself. The editor: Jim Heimann is Executive Editor for TASCHEN America in Los Angeles and the author of numerous books on architecture, popular culture, and Hollywood history including TASCHEN's bestselling All-American Ads series. The author: Steven Heller, the art director of the New York Times Book Review and co-chair of the School of Visual Arts MFA Design program, is the author of over one hundred books on design, popular culture, and satiric art. In addition to writing for over a dozen TASCHEN titles, his recent books include Design Literacy Second Edition, Stylepedia, and The Education of a Graphic Designer.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   246
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 13.7" Width: 10.79" Height: 1.42"
Weight:   4.89 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Mar 12, 2007
Publisher   Taschen
ISBN  3822842699  
ISBN13  9783822842690  

Availability  0 units.

More About Steven Heller

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Steven Heller is the co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author program and co-founder of the MFA in Design Criticism program at SVA, New York. For 33 years he was an art director at the New York Times. He is editor of AIGA VOICE and contributing editor to Print, Eye, Baseline and I.D. magazines. He is the author of more than 120 books on design and popular culture. He is the recipient of the 1999 AIGA Medal for Lifetime Achievement. Veronique Vienne has worked at a number of US magazines as art director, and is the author of The Art of Doing Nothing and The Art of Imperfection. A frequent contributor to Graphis and Metropolis magazines, she lives in Paris."

Steven Heller has published or released items in the following series...
  1. 100 Ideas That Changed

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Reviews - What do customers think about Shop America: Mid-Century Storefront Design, 1938-1950?

Retro-Chic Style  Jul 3, 2008
Shop America is a great reference source for anyone who loves vintage, retro, Mid-Century Modern or just shopping! It is chocked full of great artists renderings, plans and photos of store design and showcases both what we were and what we hoped to be. If you are a designer, this book is a must have. If you are a casual enthusiast this bokk is a should have. Either way it is just great! Stephen Heller, please give us more!
Lannon review  Jun 3, 2008
Excellent book, this is our second purchase of this particular book. My husband now has two of them, one in each of his residences, in Rhode Island and now Florida. Thanks,
disappointing  Jun 16, 2007
I was disappointed in this book. The best picture is the one on the cover. Inside, each selection is pretty much the same. "Style suggestion for a florist shop," "Style suggestion for a shoe store," etc. Has diagrams and font types, window measurements, etc. All tech stuff that's not really interesting to me. I would have returned it, but didn't want to mess with the shipping. Sigh.
American Business Embraces Modernism  Apr 29, 2007
In the midst of the Great Depression, American Business adopted an American form of modernism that heralded a new age of technology and progress. This period of design history is sometimes called, "Machine Age", "Streamline Modern" or "Midcentury Modern." This belief in the spirit of progress can be seen in almost all American design of this period.

"Shop America" adds to our understanding of the time by focusing on store front design. American glass companies produced beautifully illustrated catalogs that promoted the use of glass and modern building materials. These catalogs inspired architects and small business owners to create store fronts that embraced the progressive spirit of modernism.

When many of us think of the 1940's and 1950's, we think of a conformist age best understood by old television shows like Ozzie and Harriet and Father Knows Best. However, a book like "Shop America" also demonstrates that American business and consumers of the time were willing to adopt a bold modernist vision. Although the designs in these books are 50-60 years old, they are still very fresh and exciting.

This book was produced by the German Publisher, Taschen. Like all Taschen books it is a very good value. It is a large format book with very high production values. This book is a must purchase for all enthusiasts of the period as well as for contemporary architects and designers. Highly recommended.
Streamline meets Atomic on Main  Mar 18, 2007
Turn the pages of this fascinating book and you're window shopping on Main Street in the late forties, plenty of consumer goods are just a touch away thanks to large glass windows. The essence of the book is more than ninety ideas for storefronts created by the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. Each has an artists rendering, sometimes a technical detail or floor plan and technical information about the glass used.

It is the exuberant artwork that makes the book come alive. They capture a mid-century of elegant shoppers seduced by Carrara glass and Aluminum. Virtually every store has an overall streamline design frequently mixing atomic motifs and the final individual touch is the name in a modern sans type or a casual script for a ladies retail unit. Strangely there is no actual reference to the Pittsburgh PGC or the artists though E A Lundberg has his signature on many of the illustrations.

This is a large book (handsomely designed and printed) that fortunately makes all the wonderful renderings large too. In the first few pages Steve Heller contributes an overview of storefront design illustrated with black and white photos of real stores in large American cities. Predictably few of them are as flamboyant as the concept artwork in the glass-makers sales material.

*** FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.


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