On the Shoulders of Giants

The French say, “il faut reculer pour mieux advancer”—we go backwards in order to jump further.

It’s part of the reason we collect back issues of magazines, books, great paper and print samples, as well as educational references. Like you, I use them for inspiration and to see how others solved design, layout, font and color problems.  Whether we’re trying to solve a new design challenge or refine an existing direction, looking back into an archive of design, advertising, packaging and photographic examples can inspire creativity.

I’m often asked where to find good research materials. Recently, I’ve added a new resource to my arsenal—The Reflected Works archive at Sappi, which illuminates our rich design heritage and a legacy of innovation. I have not, up until now, had access, nor the space, to preserve such an enormous reservoir of advertising, design, photography, and illustration resources for inspiration and education. It’s a treasure trove.

The Reflected Works archive, found at www.sappietc.com/reflected-works, is where you can view examples of promotional tools published by Sappi (previously S.D. Warren) from 1910 – 1969. The content on the site is searchable, downloadable and enjoyable. It’s a library of some of the finest examples of paper industry advertising and promotion available—and all at your fingertips.

One group of images from the archive that I really enjoy features the ads S.D. Warren ran from 1943-45. Everything in the ads is directed at effective communication to an American population hard at work to support the WWII war effort. While some of the content is dated, much of it still feels relevant today. Topics like freedom of choice, American will and the benefits of living in a free society run throughout the copy and remind us how our country can come together to support a common cause.

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Sir Isaac Newton

Today’s design and advertising owes so much to the past body of work by some of the finest practitioners of our craft and trade. We have built our aesthetic structures on the foundation of decades of astonishingly beautiful, distinguished and award-winning design and advertising.

It is a reminder that we are as good as we are because we stand upon shoulders of past giants. To get the printed overview of The Reflected Works archive, click here.

Does that make sense?

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Click here to view the archive