Thursday, September 14, 2017

Collections from the California Historical Society Help SFTravel Win Major Award

Last week, San Francisco Travel Association (SFTravel) announced that it had won the the U.S. Travel’s Destinations Council Destiny Award, in the $5 million to $10 million category, one of the most significant awards in the travel marketing industry. SFTravel was honored for its Summer of Love 50th Anniversary celebration campaign, and effort created in partnership with the California Historical Society.

One of the key components of the campaign was an engaging and original brand identity (see below) that promoted the 50th Anniversary and helped connect San Francisco's counterculture past to the present. The creative for the campaign was developed by Teak SF, a San Francisco-based branding and content studio. The archives of the California Historical Society played a critical role in this campaign as Teak was inspired by a range of materials in the CHS collection. Of particular note were vintage typographic materials from its Kemble Collections.

The Kemble Collections of the California Historical Society (CHS), established through gifts from George L. Harding and further enriched by donations of materials from a variety of printers, publishers, typographers and collectors, are named for pioneer California printer and publisher Edward Cleveland Kemble. The Kemble Collections consist of more than 3,500 volumes, extensive pamphlet and ephemeral materials, over 300 runs of trade periodicals, and significant manuscript holdings, all pertaining to the history of printing and publishing, with a special emphasis on California and the West.

A significant strength of the Kemble Collection is its materials related to typographic and graphic design. The collection holds type specimens and catalogs dating back to the early 19th century originally used in foundries and printing offices of the time to periodicals showcasing the latest graphic design from early 20th century design centers such as Leipzig, Germany. These materials are available to be viewed in the CHS library, offering artists and designers the opportunity to research, engage with and be inspired by original materials in design history.

Type specimens from the Timely Typography and Dan X. Solo’s collection of vintage type captured both the acid rock and art nouveau influences of countercultural 1960s design. Timely Typography, a San Francisco typography firm, offered their customers typefaces such as Harem or Swath. Examples include:

The company’s late 1960s – early 1970s type specimens feature typefaces that captured the exaggerated lines and bright colors typically seen in graphic design of this era.

Dan X. Solo was an Oakland-based collector and distributor of antique typefaces. By providing advertising agencies with repro-proofs from his collection of antique typefaces, Solo was able to bridge the gap between counterculture artists, designers and printmakers who were so influenced by art nouveau and Victorian-era design and the ad agencies that would co-opt these styles for mass consumption.  Solo was a strong advocate for making typefaces available for public use and dissemination and the CHS library is proud to support the spirit of Solo’s work by making his, and all of our Kemble Collections available to the public for both research and inspirational endeavors.
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