Otto Baumberger and the illustrated poster in the 20th Century

Baumberger’s overcoat poster is an example of Sachlichkeit (objectivity). The word sachlich recurs throughout writings on design in the 1920s and 1930s. The term originated in painting, where ‘neue Sachlichkeit’ (New Objectivity) signified the opposite of expressionism. …That ‘the camera never lies’ was an accepted notion at the time. The advertiser appealed to the public, not with emotional suggestions or promises, but with only essential information — what the product is and what it looks like.

- Richard Hollis, Swiss Graphic Design

Victorian Gaslight Style

I did a post on this a while ago, but didn’t find too many resources that dissect the characteristics of the style apart from its coincidence with widespread use of / new techniques in lithography, and applications to cigar boxes, etc. There is a great write-up at the Sheaff Ephemera database with some amazing examples. 

One pronounced aspect of Victorian design was a great interest in creating the illusion of depth, particularly so with lithographers. Type, vignettes, products and design elements are made to seem multi-layered through the use of shadows, superimposition, dimensional banners and ribbons, turned-up faux page corners and choice of colors. Some have labeled this the “Gaslight Style” approach to design, for example Maurice Rickards: “Said to have derived from the play of lamps on three-dimensional street lettering [ i.e. storefront signage, etc. / ed ], the style appears to have originated in Germany, spreading, through the influence of German printing skills, throughout the world.” (Collecting Printed Ephemera, London 1988 p.116)  Rickards describes it at greater length in his Encyclopedia of Ephemera(Routledge, NY 2000, pp.50-51): “Chief features of the style are heavily three-dimensional lettering with a vigorous rendering of tonal gradation and shadow effects. A characteristic treatment involved the use of a vignetted ‘cloud-work’ background against which lettering appeared in lighter tone, with heavy shadowing to hold outlines where these overlapped on to plain paper. A  wealth of heavy scroll- and strap-work, also rendered in three dimensions, filled in the interstices of the design.” The style, for which at the time no specific name emerged, is thought to have been inspired by the chiaroscuro effects of gas lighting, and has subsequently received the designation ‘gaslight style’.