American Trademarks

Eric Baker and Tyler Blik are a pair of noted graphic and identity designers, though perhaps their greatest legacy in American design will come not from their work as designers, but as design historians. Authors of 1985's very important Trademarks of the 20s and 30s, the pair has since complied and published catalogs of American trademarks big and small for the decades reaching up until the 1980s. This year Chronicle Books has published a survey of those works: American Trademark A Compendium.

The book is a wonderful romp through the identity design avant la lettre, and runs the gamut from forgotten waffle houses to logos that feel utterly timeless. Organizing things by type, Baker and Blik's book is at once kitschy and reverent, backward-looking and contemporary. Graphic design luminaries like Paula Scher, Clive Piercy, and Charles Anderson weigh in with their takes and remembrences of trademarks of yore, each extolling the merits of design unencumbered, perhaps even ignorant, of all the trappings that currently lard "design culture."

American Trademark will be available later this month from Chronicle Books.

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