Design Art of the Pamphlet A Tribute and Essay by Jim Linderman

Waiting rooms. The domain of the pamphlet. Public Service or propaganda, these graphic little printed booklets are probably the most common art form never really appreciated. They are seen but neglected. A million artists have worked on them without credit. Your doctor will tell you about smoking. Your Secretary of State will tell you about driving safety. Your employer will tell you rules, give advice and describe the procedures. Each will be printed in stapled form, some eight pages or so, and they will always be free. Sometimes the cost is born by the government, sometimes by a corporation hoping to score points. But the common theme to all is a lack of artistic credit. As the purpose is to spread the news like wildfire, they often carry no copyright. No library holds them. Once the rack is empty, a new one will come along to fill the space.

Everyone of these splendid and striking little works of art come from one of the millions and millions of pamphlets sitting in racks now waiting to be left in the car, then weeks later taken in and forced into an overfilled kitchen trash can. They'll help you push down the coffee grounds without getting your hands wet.

The artist is unidentified. He worked in the orange color used in traffic signs as that has been determined to be the brightest shade to attract the eye. His or her graphics are simple, easy to understand but accomplished. There is room for creative expansion but little abstraction to confuse.

Images from "Do You Have Mile-A-Minute Eyes?" Employee Rack Service of Western Electric Company 1959. Pamphlet Collection Jim Linderman


  1. Love this Jim... thanks — from one of the unidentified graphic designers in the trenches who often said "all we are doing is adding to the landfill problem!" That didn't always go over so well with corporate.

  2. wow - i would love to see the whole pamphlet - what are mile-a-minute eyes?

  3. "Mile a Minute" is the speed at which one drives.
    The Pamphlet instructs one to drive carefully.