which simplified their packaging and wrapping materials and methods showed an average saving of 40 per cent of their costs The status quo of packages and labels presents innumerable opportunities for sav- ings, ranging from weak ineffectual designs, confused copy and unnec essary printings to such major faults as obsolete materials and larger packs than consumer use demands. The design of new products is held in abeyance by the fact that few manufacturers care to release innova tions in the present market. Thus one of the widely recommended cures for hoarding is stalemate. Monotony reigns and even our new inks and livelier display techniques do not fill the gap. It is an excellent moment to take stock of the effort of American design. Our past is full of design solutions which are not only functionally admirable but economically elegant. From the clipper ship to the mast of the Enterprise; from the buggy wheel to the new low-priced automobiles, from the safety razor to the egg slicer or the Kodak, excellent design is plentiful in American industry. Now our packaging has reached a pitch of conscious excellence and effi ciency where Europe is anxious to find out how we did it. Packaging expositions are travelling back across the Atlantic, for we can pack more merchandise more economically and efficiently than they can. The American designer has worked with the engineer and the merchandise expert despite the confusion of prosperity and the delayed thinking of the depression. That his solution has frequently been superficial must be admitted. His job is only partly done. The package stands in need of a more careful examination and a more fundamental direction. Mate rials must be studied and adapted to their exact purposes. Display needs both better decoration and more business-like treatment. Even its construction is wide open to improvement today. And finally, the product itself, the railroad car, the medicine cabinet, the house and the apartment and all their equipment and furnishing need rethinking. This time of suspended action in production furnishes an appropriate moment for the designer to work out better design solutions against the rush activity to come. Excellent design has always been one of the cheapest tools of business. Today it is also one of the most flexible, for good design is always consumer minded. The buyer's market our enormous production facilities have given us looks like a permanent state. Consumption is the governor of the machine of industry and design, sound, experienced, design which makes sense in terms of the master plan of sales on the one hand and production facilities on the other, is the necessary stimulus to set the governor in motion. Price reduc tion was the first and obvious force. It has been enormously helpful but its usefulness is past. Design remains as a positive force not only to start the machine turning over but to follow along in its renewed activity to minimize its terrific waste and keep it running more smoothly. Simon de Vaulchier 13

Advertising Arts en | 1932 | | page 27