The Strathmore Timeline from 1898-1969

In 2014, Mohawk stumbled upon a paper holy grail: a collection of samples, swatchbooks and sales guides boxed up in a warehouse, all but forgotten. Spanning more than a century, The Strathmore Archive is more than merely ephemera: It serves as a tactile, visual history of graphic design styles and culture.

Here, we offer you a window to the work of some of the best designers of the 20th century with Strathmore paper as the backdrop:

1899 | STRATHMORE DECKLE EDGE PAPER
Designed and printed by Will Bradley’s University Press, this woodcut is a perfect expression of Bradley’s fascination with colonial printing and stands as one of the earliest examples of a paper swatchbook.

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1906 | STRATHMORE QUALITY PAPERS
During his 1903–05 tenure as art director at ATF, Will Bradley designed borders and typefaces. This book cover of a Strathmore Paper guide is a clear reflection of Bradley’s work in that period, featuring his hand lettering and the first use of a thistle as the company logo.

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1919 | ALEXANDRA JAPAN
In 1919, William Dwiggins created this complex specimen book project for Strathmore. The cover is a beautiful example of his signature ornamentation created using wooden stamps and celluloid stencils.

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1921 | PAPER IS PART OF THE PICTURE
The “Paper is Part of the Picture” campaign was launched in 1921 and featured work like this small poster-format illustration where the base paper color plays a key role in the figure/ground relationship.

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1924 | STRATHMORE TOWN
This page from Book No. 3 of the Strathmore Town” series was designed and illustrated by Helen Dryden, a brilliant illustrator whose Vogue magazine covers from the 1920s are iconic.

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1938 | STRATHMORE HANDBOOK
The cover to this paper handbook features Charles R. Capon’s interpretation of the iconic Strathmore Thistle. Capon was a skilled and successful artist with a career spanning the first half of the 20th century.

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1943 | A TRADEMARK OF QUALITY
As part of the wartime promotional effort, Strathmore states the case for quality in the midst of rationing and compromise.

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1950 | EXPRESSIVE PRINTING PAPERS
Known for his use of strong, direct forms and his role in establishing American modernism, Lester Beall extols the expressive power of paper in this quintessentially Beall printed portfolio.

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1954 | FOR RUGS VISIT THE BLUE ELEPHANT 25 GRAND ST
In 1954, the year he was awarded the AIGA medal, Will Bradley created a portfolio of illustrations (including this piece) celebrating 60 years of collaboration with Strathmore.

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1964 | IF ALL THE WORLD WERE PAPER
Pushpin Studios’ eclectic aesthetic is wonderfully represented in this 1964 folder that explores the interaction between paper, printing and embellishing techniques.

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1968 | ARE YOU AFRAID OF STRATHMORE?
This is one example from an ad campaign that ran throughout 1968 and was illustrated by Simms Taback, whose career included stints at CBS Records and the New York Times.

 

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1969 | HIFI
In 1969, Kenneth Kuenster designed this two-product printed sample relying heavily on letterforms and bold color to convey the oh-so-’60s theme: HiFi.

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Are you attending the 2016 National Stationery Show and want to see the archive in person? Stop by booth #2657 where we’ll be showcasing a selection of artifacts from the Archive and providing educational sessions that will cover a unique topic related to the Archive and an overview of American Design, color and taste.

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