Favorite Record 6

Favorite Record (Germany) / 1919

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Design: A striking illustration of an attractive young woman, beautifully made up and well-coiffured, cupping her ear to listen more closely to the music issuing from the (wooden?) 'morning-glory' horn of a home phonograph. What she is doing with her left hand is not clear since it is obscured by the stamp (which appears to feature a five-pointed star, prominently featured on an earlier label). The hand-drawn label name lettering shows great inventiveness, with both angular and curvilinear shapes, but is subservient to the illustration, the whole being a clear example of the advertising dogma that 'sex sells!' A similar concept (and treatment) can be seen on the contemporary Beka label.

History: Label scans courtesy of collector Georg Richter of Germany, who writes: "Favorite was initially an independent company which, in addition to their own recordings, used matrices from the American Okeh company. In 1913 Favorite became part of the Lindström empire (from about 1919 on, most matrices on Favorite came from the Beka organization). The last year of Favorite records was 1926, but some of their records were later reissued by the German Parlophon company. Below is an advertisement from January 3 1907 which shows the exact company name: Schallplatten-Fabrik 'Favorite' GmbH, Hanover-Linden, with the announcement of double-face records to be sold direct to big dealers. On May 6 1907 their general representative in Berlin, Mr. Newman, discontracted Favorite, as announced by Favorite in a full-page ad" [below].

(As can be seen from the breaks in the border in the advertisement, the Art Nouveau border, with its fluid corner-pieces, was cast in separate units of lead. The bold condensed font used throughout is also in the Art Nouveau style, but its weight and proportions are similar to Gothic, which was still widely used in Germany at the time. In order to give added emphasis to the main line: 'Doppelseitigen Favorite Schallplatten,' or 'Double-sided Favorite Discs,' the compositor has carefully inserted two separate line of rules under the lowercase, as well as adding double lines in the heading above to create a 'justified' appearance. At this time, letterpress printing, a technology which had remained virtually unchanged for over 400 years, was having to rise to the challenge of the upstart lithographic process, which being unconstricted by metal typecasting, allowed for much more freedom in graphics, and print shops were beginning to go to extraordinary lengths to present eye-catching advertising that could compete in the market-place. The phase, marking the high-point of technical skill in the letterpress printing industry -- although not necessarily the best in terms of taste -- became known as 'Artistic Printing.' An understanding of typographic design and an ability to make pencil layouts quickly became requisites for apprentice compositors, and many schools of design and technology were founded in the early 20th century, with Germany and England both making great strides in making continued technical education a necessary component of printing industry apprenticeship programs.)

Design variations of this label in this decade (click on image to view page):

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