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This illustration from an article entitled “Redefining “Hot”: The Dictionary” captured me for many reasons. For one, I love words! I’ve searched the etymology of plenty of things in just the past week; online dictionaries are of endless importance to me. I also thought the cartoon was very cute. My drink of choice is champagne and my favourite color is pink- I was pleased to see the positive and happy Dictionary reflecting myself in these ways. To get more of a sense of this comical artist’s work, I visited cartoonist Ron Barrett’s website.
My favourite thing that I learned on Mr. Barrett’s site was that he actually illustrated a childhood favourite: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs! What a throwback! Most of his art is colorful and humorous, he even labels it as ‘funny’ himself. Much of his work are commissions like these for newspapers, journals and other articles requiring a touch of comedy. Along with Cloudy, he illustrated many funny scenes in children’s books. Another of my favourites was for a book called “Animals should definitely not wear clothes” where Barrett drew a hen in lovely floral trousers with a belt, and there’s an egg-shape in the back because the pants have kept it right there. So cute. In reading Barrett’s “about” page, I discovered that he was actually mentored by Lucian Bernhard, a pioneer of modern graphic design. In my classes I heard the name before but I’m not entirely familiar, so I searched this gentleman next.

I began reading about Mr. Bernhard (which is a pseudonym by the way) and learned that he was a very influential poster designer during the first half of the twentieth century, from Germany. I looked at some of his work, and then found a link on linotype.com- he designed typefaces too! I actually find Bernhard Fashion Regular to be surprisingly modern and beautiful, I could certainly see myself using it if it’s not a million dollars to purchase. Surprisingly, this man also created a spelling system to improve the teaching and reading of the English language called “Fonotype”. As an English major I’ve never heard of this and am very intrigued. I researched this next.

Turns out, this was “phonetic spelling”, spelling things as they sound. ….This is fascinating, as phonics has always been a part of teaching for my whole life. I didn’t even consider that it had to be “invented”. Bernhard is a truly amazing individual.

The final thing I wanted to research from this image was “Emily Post’s Etiquette” who is drawn as a tired and nagging book. I had never heard of it before, but it turns out it was a very popular manners manual that redefined the century. Now, of course, it would be outdated so it makes perfect sense next to a book about Yugoslavia and the Michelin Guide. Something funny I came across was that an Emily Post book was actually featured in a Bugs Bunny cartoon at one point. I’m sure this “mistress of manners” never anticipated this.

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