Sunday, September 7, 2014

Ribbon Designs

from Ticket Writing and Sign Painting, 1916
Ribbon designs were popular design motifs in illustration and sign painting a hundred years ago. 

The book "Ticket Writing and Sign Painting" from 1916 advises to make sure to use them only when you have plenty of space to devote to them, and to use a little shadow to show which parts project forward.

Ribbon designs lend a grand storybook feeling. N.C. Wyeth uses them on this title page to give a feeling of heraldry. The continuous wrapping ribbon combines nicely here with the mix of capital and lower case letters of the lettering.

Maxfield Parrish uses them here as a boundary device and even a platform for the model, and he curls the ends rather than letting them flap away like a flag.

If you've got a dollar bill in your pocket, you've got a fine example of a ribbon design. Note how the parallel lines describing the edge of the ribbon give it dimension as it folds over itself.

Ticket Writing and Sign Painting, 1916


SVSART said...

This is so weird I was just looking into Ribbon designing the other day.....Great Info, thxs!

Terry said...

I've always been so fascinated with the formation of letters - one of my earliest episodes of trouble was getting a spank on the butt when my dad caught me (at age about 7) tracing those rich, mesmerizing letters in the Dick and Jane books (my own copy Mom had found at a thrift store) in pencil. In his eyes, writing in a book was EVIL and I didn't have the vocabulary to be able to tell him it was an act of *devotion*.

I'm a bit puzzled: in this context, what is a "ticket"? I instantly envision a roll of carney tickets. That can't be right...

James Gurney said...

Terry, wow, what a story! A "ticket" is what we would call a price tag. They were hand lettered by show card writers.