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Entered at Stationers' Hall, London.

Show-Card Writing: Copyright, 1903, by INTERNATIONAL TEXTBOOK COMPANY.
Entered at Stationers' Hall, London.

Show-Card Design and Ornament: Copyright, 1903, by INTERNATIONAL TEXTBOOK
COMPANY. Entered at Stationers' Hall, London.

Letter Formation: Copyright, 1903, by INTERNATIONAL TEXTBOOK COMPANY.
Entered at Stationers' Hall, London.

All rights reserved.



The present volume will undoubtedly fill a long-felt want
for a full and exhaustive treatment of the subject of Show-
Card Writing. The text is clear and comprehensive and the
subject is treated in such a manner that it can not only be
readily understood by beginners but can also be consulted
as a work of reference by experts. We are not aware of any
previous attempt to prepare a work of this kind.

In addition to the text matter proper, there are included
in the Course fifteen Drawing Plates, each of which the
student is expected to send to the Schools for corrections,
suggestions, and criticisms. To avoid the use of a portfolio
two sets of plates have been made one to be used for
printing the plates sent to students as they progress in their
studies and the other for printing the reduced copies in this
volume. It will be noticed that these plates have been
inserted on guards, thus permitting them to be opened flat
without extending beyond the edges of the volume.

To those who specialize in original designing, the present
work will be found extremely fertile in suggestion; to all
classes of card writers, it will prove valuable as a convenient
work of ready reference. The index is full and simply
arranged, enabling any one to find any style or form of
letter with the least possible delay or difficulty. The work
has been printed throughout on carefully selected, extra
heavy, coated book paper; the illustrations accompanying
the text are profuse, clear in detail, and have been prepared
and executed at great expense; the colored plates are highly
artistic and very finely finished products of the printers' skill.



The method of numbering the pages and articles is such
that each subject is complete in itself; hence, in order to
make the index intelligible it was necessary to give a
number to each subject or part. This number is placed at
the top of each page, on the headline, opposite the page
number; and to distinguish it from the page number, it is
preceded by a section mark (). Consequently, a reference
such as 3, page 11, will be readily found by looking along
the inside edges of the headlines until 3 is found, and then
through 3 until page 11 is found.




Purpose of the Course 1 1

How to Become an Expert Card Writer . 1 2

Description of the Course 1 3

Colors 1 5

Handling of Colors 1 8

Water Colors 1 12

List of Oil Colors 1 13

Brushes 1 14

Materials 1 17

Elements of Lettering 1 19

Component Parts of a Letter 1 19

Spacing of Letters 1 20

Shading 1 23

Letter-Face Lighting and Shading ... 1 26

Classification of Letters 1 29

Ornamental Letters 1 29

Grotesque Letters 1 31

Illuminated Capitals 1 32

Treatment of Letters 1 36

Brush Work 1 40

Exercise I 1 40

Exercise II 1 41

Exercise III 1 42

Exercise IV 1 43

Plate, Title: Elementary Lines .... 1 46

Plate, Title: Elementary Curves .... 1 47

Speed in Lettering 1 48

Methods and Application 1 49

Dry Colors 1 49


SHOW-CARD WRITING (Continued} Section Page

Illumination of Show-Cards 1 52

Letters 1 54

Modifications of Letters 1 57

Relief Letters 1 62

Beveling 1 63

Mounting 1 65

Manifolding 1 66

Store and Window Signs 1 71

Outside Signs 1 73

Card Hangers 1 77

Punctuation 1 77

Rules for Punctuation 1 78


Elements of Design 2 2

Simple Figures 2 2

The Ellipse 2 4

The Panel 2 6

Ribbons 2 10

Practical Designing 2 12

Inscription Designing 2 12

Location of Inscription 2 16

Supplementary Alphabets 2 19

Indexes 2 23

The Eye 2 24

Applied Design 3 2

Forms Used in Card Writing 3 2

Composition of a Design 3 9

Natural Forms Used ........ 3 9

Ornament 3 12

Various Styles and Application .... 3 12

Various Designs 3 14

Price Tickets 3 21

Inscriptions for Show-Cards 3 23


Freehand Alphabets . 4 1

Plate, Title: Brush-Stroke Letters 4 1


LETTER FORMATION (Continued] Section Page

Plate, Title: Condensed Egyptian ... 4 3

Capitals 4 4

Lower Case and Numerals 4 6

Plate, Title: Heavy Egyptian 4 8

Plate, Title: Eccentric Egyptian .... 4 10

Plate, Title: French Roman 4 12

Capitals 4 12

Lower Case 4 14

Plate, Title: Roman 4 15

Capitals 4 16

Lower Case and Numerals 4 17

Plate, Title: Transparent Color Work . . 4 18

Plate, Title: Eccentric Roman 4 21

Plate, Title: Ogee-Curve Stroke .... 4 22

Capitals 4 23

Lower Case 4 24

Plate, Title: Square English 4 25

Capitals 4 25

Lower Case 4 27

Plate, Title: Half Script 4 28

Capitals 4 29

Lower Case 4 29

Plate, Title: Script 4 31

Capitals 4 31

Lower Case 4 32

Plate, Title: Opaque Water-Color Work . 4 32



1. Purpose of This Course. Attractive show-card
writing ranks among the most important advertising
methods used by the progressive and wide-awake merchant.
Time was when the storekeeper was satisfied to use his store
windows for the mere purpose of lighting his store. If an
attempt were made to display goods, the multiplicity of
window panes, the height of the window floor, together with
the congested window space (having but a front exposure),
offered little or no advantages in using it as a medium for
attracting the attention of the passers-by.

Conditions, however, have changed with the times, until
the shoV window has become the most imposing feature of
the store. Competition has brought into play every known
means for attracting attention to the character of the goods
to be found within. In this connection it is obvious that such
signs be used as will call special attention to the quality and
price of goods displayed; also, that these be prepared on
inexpensive material in order- that periodical announce-
ments may be made to the public that will interest and secure
trade. To this end, nothing is more suitable or productive
of better results than advertising show-cards. These may
be executed by a novice, and, in a way, serve the purpose
for which they are intended. But to make the window
lettering and show-card writing an artistic as well as a remu-
nerative feature of the window display, is the desire of every
merchant. He may secure a stock of goods of sufficient
merit in quality, and offer them at prices so low as should

For notice of copyright, see page immediately following the title page


crowd his store with customers, and yet these may become
shop worn and out of fashion were he to neglect to use the
methods employed by his progressive competitors in calling
attention to them through attractive display cards and catchy

Therefore, the show-card writer is indispensable to the
successful up-to-date merchant, and, as an employe, he is
valued in proportion to his ability to prepare work that will
arrest the eye of every passer-by. It is equally neces-
sary for those engaged in this profession to be familiar with
every form of letter that will most effectively serve their
purpose, and to make use of every novelty in designing,
arrangement, and artistic embellishment known to modern

It is the purpose of this Course, therefore, so to prepare
those having the show window in charge, or those desiring
to undertake this class of work, that they may thoroughly
master every branch of the subject, by giving them a
practical knowledge of show-card and inscription design-
ing in every detail, and of every form of alphabet best
adapted for use in show-cards, window signs, interior ban-
ners, and all other work coming within the province of the
card writer.

2. Chief Qualifications. Success cannot be assured
any student enrolling in this Course unless he possesses the
qualifications necessary. We are therefore compelled to call
attention to some of the natural tendencies to discourage-
ment that exist, and that serve to draw a student from any
worthy purpose. Much depends on the student, if he would
realize the fullest benefit to be derived from his course of
instruction. Too much time cannot be devoted to practice.
It is only by practice that the student can hope to succeed.
The process by which the hand becomes skilled in perform-
ing work, and the eye trained to equalize space, measure
distances, and proportion objects is necessarily slow, and to
those who lack application, it is quite tedious.


3. Reward of Application. vStudents are of two
general classes, namely: Those who desire only a super-
ficial knowledge of the subject before them, and to whom any
reasonable amount of study or practice is burdensome; and
those who desire a complete knowledge of everything that
directly or indirectly pertains to the subject, and who are
willing, through practice and perseverance, to labor untir-
ingly to this end. Those composing the former class are
easily discouraged, their chief aim being to acquire speed
in their work, not taking sufficient time to gain a perfect
knowledge of every subject before them; while those in the
latter class, by thoroughly mastering the work in every
detail, soon acquire speed as a result of a perfect knowledge
of the formation of letters, designing, method of application,
etc. It is obvious, therefore, that one class should win the
final reward and receive as a result the largest salaries and
best positions, while the other class must be satisfied to take
second or third places in their profession.


4. Arrangement and Classification. The Course is
arranged progressively, beginning with instruction in such
subjects as colors, brushes, appliances, materials, etc., a
knowledge of which is necessary before beginning drawing
or freehand lettering. It is important that the student
should first be perfectly familiar with the foregoing, for it is
with these he is to execute his work. The subject of design-
ing, or the manner in which the work should be executed,
is introduced at that point in the instruction when the stu-
dent has progressed sufficiently to apply this knowledge to
practical use.

5. Materials Necessary. We recommend that all
practice \vork be done on Manila pattern paper, on account
of its cheapness. When working in the evening, use a good,
steady light; an incandescent gaslight is best. Arrange the
table so that the light is thrown on the work from above and


to the left of the drawing table. A shade for the eyes should
be worn to protect them from the light, and every precaution
taken in caring for them when working by any kind of
artificial light. A well-made, firm table should be used, and
this should be slightly inclined (not to exceed 10). The
ordinary table known among furniture dealers as the kitchen
table, costing about $1.50, is an excellent table for a student's
use. The front legs of this table may be cut off sufficiently
to give the proper angle. The 24" X 30" drafting board is
furnished in the special outfit, and will be found indispen-
sable even though the table be used. The complete outfit
consists of the following:

1 2-ounce bottle show-card writer's white.
1 2-ounce bottle show-card writer's black.
1 f-ounce bottle waterproof India ink.

1 set of lettering brushes: 5 red sable (riggers) Nos. 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11;
2 Nos. 1 and 3 (Columbia) red sables; 1 wash brush No. 3, double end,
camel's hair; 3 Nos. 4, 6, and 8 square shaders, camel's hair; 3 Nos.
4, 6, and 8 letterers, camel's hair.

| dozen sheets of white drawing paper, size 15" X 20".

2 sheets of black drawing paper.

1 show-card writer's T square, 28" blade.

2 ounces of each of the following dry colors: blue, green, orange,
lemon, and red.

1 chamois skin.

1 drafting board, 24" X 30".

dozen thumbtacks.

1 combination compass.

1 protractor.

1 sponge eraser.

1 lead pencil.

1 pencil eraser.

12 pans of water color as follows: new green, light red, burnt
sienna, vermilion, crimson lake, gamboge, mauve purple, Prussian
blue, sepia, yellow ocher, orange chrome yellow, charcoal gray.

3 water-color dishes: 2", 2", and 3".




6. Classification of Colors. There are five general
classes into which all colors are divided, as follows: Primary,
secondary, tertiary, semineutral, and neutral. Beginning with
the primary, colors fall to a lower order, depending on how
closely they are related to this chief or highest order. Com-
binations of colors of this order produce what are known as
secondary, and so on until two colors are equally divided in
strength, when they become neutral.

7. Primary Colors. The primary colors are red,
yelloic, and blue. By a combination of these three colors the
modern color artist, such as the art printer and lithographer,
can produce a piece of work in strong and distinct colors,
shades, and tints that will show wonderful ingenuity. The
combinations of the colors with white and black are almost
unlimited in variety. By referring to the color chart, Fig. 2,
we learn that to combine any two of the primary colors will
give us another distinct color that belongs to a separate
class, called secondary colors.

8. Secondary Colors. The three secondary colors

are^mv/, orange, a\i& purple. Yellow and blue mixed together
in proper quantities will produce green; yellow and red
combined will produce orange; while red and blue will
produce purple.

It should not be understood that equal quantities of these
colors will give the desired shade, nor that any shade of
red, blue, or yellow should be classed as primary. In the
ideal spectrum, Fig. 1, the colors marked 1, ?, and 5 are
normal, primary colors.

The strength of manufactured colors differs, some being
so intense as to require but the smallest amount to counter-
balance, or offset, the color used in connection with it. A
few of the weak colors will serve as an example, as new
blue, Naples yellow, emerald green, etc., while some of the


colors of greatest strength are Prussian blue, Indian red,
orange chrome, etc. When using these latter colors the
greatest care must be observed or the strong color will be
found to predominate in the mixture.

9. Tertiary Colors. Combining one secondary color
with another secondary will produce a tertiary color; com-
bining a secondary color with a primary will also produce a
tertiary. The principal tertiary colors are citrine, olive,
and russet.

10. Semineutral Colors. Although inferior in point
of color order to the third class, the colors that compose the
semineutral class are most important for the place they
hold with respect to their practical use. Any color that is
combined with black is reduced in the scale of color com-
pounds to an entirely new and distinct series, and to this
class belong a great number' of our permanent- 'pigments,
such as raw umber, raw sienna, sepia, asphalt, etc. The
semineutral colors are brown, maroon, and gray.

11. Neutral Colors. The term neutral as applied to
colors, means that the color is evenly divided in intensity or
prominence between two colors in their proper order, as
shown in the ideal spectrum, Fig. 1. By referring to this it
will be readily seen which colors are neutral. The colors
marked R O, red orange; Y O, yellow orange; Y G, yellow
green; B G, blue green; B V, blue violet; and R V, red violet,
comprise the neutral colors.

12. White and Black. The trade term color is
applied to every mixture that is used as paint, but technic-
ally understood, white and black are not colors. White is a
combination of all of the prismatic colors, while black is in
reality the absence of color. Black and white, as pigments,
enter into the preparation of colors and shades and form a
most important ingredient. By combining white with a
strong primary, secondary, or other color, it is possible to
graduate these colors from their normal strength to a point
where the original color has passed the limits of a shade


and become indistinct, when it is termed a tint. By the
use of black in compounding colors, some may be intensi-
fied, while others acquire an entirely different hue. The
union of white and black produces slate color, lead color,
drab, gray, etc.

13. Pigments. This term is applied to certain kinds
of alluvion or other matter with which a vehicle, such as
varnish, oil, or tirrpentine may be added to produce a paint.
Mineral pigments are those found in their natural state
and comprise a low grade, or the inexpensive colors. Such
colors as umber, sienna, ocher, etc. belong to this class.
The higher grades of mineral pigments are produced from
metallic oxides and are reduced from a metallic state either
by treatment with acid or by incineration. Vegetable pig-
ments are limited to one or two colors, which is true also of
animal pigments; bone black and cochineal are important
products of the latter class.

Cochineal, which is one of the most brilliant red pigments,
consists of the bodies of female insects (Coccus cadi}, killed
and dried by heat. This insect is a small creature, a pound
of cochineal containing, it is said, 70,000 dried bodies of
cochineals. The insects feed on plants of the cactus family,
particularly on that known in Mexico as the napal, quite
nearly allied to the prickly pear. Besides furnishing us a
pigment, cochineal is also used by confectioners as a color-
ing matter for all candies that are required to be given a
pink color or a deep transparent red.

14. Spectrum Colors. In the color chart. Fig. 1, is
shown the ideal spectrum. The proportion of color is made
equal for reference purposes. It contains twenty-four dis-
tinct colors. Between the red and orange, orange and
yellow, yellow and green, green and blue, blue and violet,
there are three colors; one neutral, to which we have already
referred, and one on either side of this partaking of the
color adjoining it.



15. Harmony and Contrast. The handling of
colors, in the full sense of the word, does not mean
simply the knowledge of the many ways in which colors
can best be applied to a surface, but involves also a knowl-
edge of the nature of the colors themselves, the effect of
the elements on each, and the relations they bear to one
another. This relation in colors classifies them as either
harmonizing or contrasting with one another. A colorist
should understand the result and drying effects of placing
one mixture on another, each having as a base an entirely
different medium or liquid. All of these details must be
considered, and many annoyances and serious complications
can be avoided.

16. Warm and Cold Colors. Colors are in harmony
with one another when they partake of the same general
effect, such as the chrome yellow and sienna, chrome
yellow and umber, or such colors or tints partaking of the
red or yellow, called warm colors, or those of the oppo-
site nature, which partake of gray, lead color, green, blue,
etc., producing colors or tints that are called cold in their
effect or tone.

17. Contrast. Colors are in contrast when warm and
cold colors are used in connection with one another, although
all such colors may not be so used without producing a hetero-
geneous effect, as certain shades of red and green, blue and
green, blue and red, etc. are most discordant to the eye when
placed close together. Coloring, therefore, is a study that
can be mastered only by close observation and experiment.
Just as the professional musician produces some combined
sounds that thrill us, so the professional colorist produces
effects that are beyond the comprehension of the unskilled.
More particularly is this true of the coloring displayed by the
artist who imitates nature. He may, by the art of coloring,
not only deceive the eye but produce combinations that will
be most pleasing to it.


18. Card -Writers' Colors. The card writer often
has use for colors and mixtures that are not classified with
those known as pure colors. Therefore, there are many
combinations especially useful to him, the preparation
of which depends on his ability to harmonize and con-
trast colors.

19. Shading Colors. Water-color black and burnt
sienna form a warm neutral color. Black, colored slightly
with green or blue, forms a cold color that makes a pleas-
ing contrast with the former. These are transparent colors,
and are used mostly on white show-cards for shading,
ornamentation, etc. A variety of opaque colors used for
lettering on black or colored cards may be made by placing
a quantity of show-card white (referred to later) into a
small dish similar to a sauce dish or saucer, and by wetting
up the moist water color desired with a clean brush and
water, the color may be dropped into the white and then
thoroughly mixed.

20. Gold Color. This may be mixed in the following-
manner: Add to the white, chrome yellow and orange
chrome in equal quantities; a small amount of vermilion
should also be added. Opaque green and blue shades
may likewise be produced. For an opaque water-color
vermilion, used especially on black or dark-colored cards,
orange vermilion should be used. This possesses excel-
lent covering qualities.

21. Flesh Color. This may be produced by combining
Naples yellow, light red, and white. While these colors
can be made to imitate the color of flesh in a general way,
the proper shading and high lighting of flesh color is accom-
plished .only by the professional colorist. For producing
a Hfe-like flesh color, such colors as umber, sienna, blue,
black, and green are employed. The natural appearance
of the flesh is obtained by glazing with transparent colors
and stippling. Umber and sienna will serve to shade the
index hand or the face of a figure sufficiently good for use
in show-card writing.


22. Principal Colors Necessary. White and black
may be used almost exclusively in show-card writing-, for
all practical purposes. Many show-card writers confine their
brush work to these in preference to colors, believing that
simplicity is the first thing to be observed in advertising,
while others seek to attract the eye by colors and every
novelty that can be introduced on the show-card.

Water colors take a most important place in card writing.
They are used for filling in outlined letters, also for decora-
ting purposes, by embellishing the border, coloring designs,
striping, shading, and for ornamenting the letters.

Black and white are used in such large quantities that every
letterer should be able to prepare them, and not be entirely
dependent on the manufactured show-card inks. He may
not be able to produce the same results attained by the use of
ready-prepared colors, but he will find the white, the formula
for which is given in the following article, to flow well and
cover the surface with one coat. While we recommend this
preparation for convenience and economy, we would advise
that the beginner obtain the best white in order to insure
most satisfactory results. Card-writers' -white, furnished
by the Technical Supply Company, Scranton, Pa., is the best
product on the market for this purpose, and is prepared by
one of the leading ink manufacturers of our country.

23. Preparation of White. The formula for white is
as follows: In a vessel capable of holding 1 pint, mix dry
zinc white with water until it becomes a thick paste, in
quantity not to exceed two-thirds the capacity of the vessel;
cover closely and allow this to remain a day or two, then add
about 1 fluid ounce of mucilage. The effect of the mucilage
is to size the white; that is, to cause it to adhere sufficiently
to not rub off after it has been applied to the card surface. It
also has the effect of greatly reducing the mixture to a con-

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Online LibraryInternational Correspondence SchoolsA textbook on show-card writing → online text (page 1 of 12)