rococo lads took their franchise away from them. Spinach is the thing a new advertiser of a product that can't be bought direct by the public wants in the border of his first institutional advertisement. Spinach is the thing that makes people think that worthless shares of stock are just as good as sound shares of stock. Spinach is the Mardi Gras costume of formality; it is, in short, only the normal exudation of bad taste. There is a good peck of late-clambering spinach on our new currency. There is plaster-work, bronze-work, pastry- gun-work, imitation tortoise-shell, wood-carv ing, wire-bending, lacework, air-brusheryin ribbons, diapers, volutes, garlands, borders, shields, brackets, pedestals, frames, back grounds. The admirable engraving of Wash ington peers out of the middle of this splatter of old party-favors like a man coming up for air after a long hunt in an attic. That the portrait can retain its ancient, steady calm in the bombardment is all the more tribute to its own excellence; that the majesty of the words "The United States of America" can continue majestic in this mid-Victorian type-dress is a tribute rather to the power of the words than to any sympathetic typography in their acute rendering. In size it is convenient. As money, of course, the new bill is urgent beyond reproach. As self-protected currency, it is presumptively more proof against coun terfeit than any previous issue, for the people in Washington who do those things have a fine record. As the most single medium of hand-to-hand advertising of a government to (1) its own people and (2) other peoples, it leaves much to be desired. As a piece of ad vertising "copy," if you willfor any ar rangement of picture and legend is "copy"- it belongs in the eighteen-fifties. The subjects of the pictures on the bills are dignified, in spiring, appropriate for the most part; they are the illustrations of the advertisements in which the treasury department undertakes to resell the national story to the people. The very illustrations used could be well used. The terse, urgent, inviting language on the bills could be well and readably arranged. Neither pictures nor text were so treated. The gold coin with the big profile-eagle on it, nowthat was good advertising. Is. So is the buffalo nickel. It's American, and it's good design. So should all our currency be. So it can be. Did the treasury have a lot of trouble with the sculptors who did the coins, and thus decide to avoid the pitfall of "temperament" and the vagaries of politics? Was there no one in Washington to breathe in the ear of the treasury the name of Updike, Marchbanks, Goudy, Cleland, Dwiggins, Kent (Henry, or Rockwell), Adler, or thirty others who could have done in committee a satisfy ing job? Probably there aren't any answers to these questions. Probably it's just one of those things that nobody gives a whoop about. But we know one user of currency who had been led (by the treasury's elaborate advance campaign to prepare us for the lovely new bills) to believe that the new "Ford" was going to be a handsome car. And that user feels as though Ford had put out a Model A with a cracker-box body trimmed with crepe- paper and link-sausage. (Of course Mr. Ford himself did nothing of the sort with his actual car; he made good on his promises that it would be good-looking.) But to con tinue the analogy, that user must travel; he will use the car; he must deal in currency, and he will use the new bills, thanking God for the favor of their smaller dimension, and encouraging Him to provide plenty. But he will feel pretty darned irked that his govern ment muffed one so completely. 32

Advertising Arts en | 1930 | | page 44