Push Pin Studios

  • Why did Push Pin Studio stick to an illustrative style and not the harsh lines of design at that time?

During the disscussion we though about and found out:

  • Based in New York
  • PushPin graphics – magazine
  • I ‘heart’ New York
  • Seymour Chwast was the main designer in the agency
  • Milton Glaser created the I ‘heart’ New York logo
  • 1950s – design agencys became bigger, sans serif
  • 1960s – technology got bigger, photography did also.
  • Push Pin went aganist the digital and carried on with illustration
  • Printing
  • They might want to influence others by going against the change
  • Might want to do something different and grab the publics attention
  • Pushpin was a design agency that started out by producing a magazine, prosters and record sleeves for local businesses
  • We then disscussed the style of the 1950s in America, very blocky, abstract, geometric
  • Colours and shapes had been seen before in both Bauhaus and Constructvist styles.
  • The style used in the 1950s was called International Style
  • The work of Pushpin studios stood out from the rest of design
  • Illustrations had more detail, were far less symmetrical and freer
  • Influenced by Paul Rand which his work included logos, straight lines, Kleenex logo, bright colours
  • They were influenced by early American Art, Russian Constructivism and wood engraving
  • Typography was used in abstract places, including with shapes which made the International style.
  • Elvis Priestly – grease, music, dancing, jukebox and diners were very popular in the 1950s and most work created by agencies were influenced by these.
  • Pushpin created designs for record sleeves, influenced by music and culture at the time
  • End Bad Breath Poster was about war and created illustratively by Pushpin
  • In 1945 the second world war ended in which America had little involvement at the end
  • Cold War – Threat of nuclear was with Russia
  • Is this Propaganda? More like social comment (Russian Constructivists)
  • Racism was an issue in America at the time
  • PushPin produced commercial work which was a new concept at the time
  • They wanted to be different from other agencies and do different things that would make them stand out more
  • Mixed illustration and modern styles together
  • Pop Art was similar and looked very comic book styled like Pushpin.
  • Up to date bright colours used making the work modern even though they were inspired by traditional methods of design.


  • Music
  • Comic Books
  • Culture
  • Pop Art

At the time

  • 1950s music, style and fashion
  • Cold War – threats of nuclear war
  • Racism
  • Post-War


  • Commerical
  • Social Message
  • Wasnt mainstream

How did this change design?

  • Commercial desin
  • Merge styles together
  • Created a new design style

What happened before?

  • War
  • Propaganda
  • Bauhaus – principle
  • International style

As a result I think that the reason Pushpin Studios stayed with the illustration was to be different from other design agencies, as they went on to new eras of design Pushpin wanted to stick to what they were best at to create influentual messages in their work. For example the images below: