Summer 2007

In praise of Day-Glo

Letter from Suzanne Perkins

I came across Eric Kindel’s article on fluorescent inks (Eye no. 60 vol. 15) on the Eye website. I am a graphic designer, and the T. Thorne Baker mentioned in the piece was my grandfather.

My mum developed the Dane & Co trademark. As a child in the late 1940s I was aware of Day-Glo long before it was more widely known, as I had a golly made for me with a yellow Day-Glo bow tie.

In the 1950s it was a Ted fashion, and therefore wild, to wear Day-Glo socks and we girls wore one green and one pink each. In the 1960s Day-Glo was used for trippy posters, which were sold in a special part of the shop, lit by ‘Black Light’ (UV light). When I became art director of The Women’s Press in 1978, the ink was well out of fashion, cheapened by use for closing-down sales, but I deliberately used Day-Glo pink as one of the corporate colours to signify transgressive womanhood, not realising that Schiaparelli had done almost the same thing with her Shocking Pink. The launch included five very literary books against a sea of Day-Glo pink in the window of Hatchards in Piccadilly. In those days it had to be screen-printed.

I still adore Day-Glo, find it restful to look at (especially the pink), and plan my work schedule for the week on Day-Glo paper.

London

First published in Eye no. 64 vol. 16 2007

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues.


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