Tuesday, June 1, 2021

American Calligraphy #23; Brands

 ABCs of the USA: The stories behind America’s most distinctive calligraphy styles.

Modern version of iron for
branding barbecued steaks...
In the far southwestern territories of the American continent--and long before they joined the nation--Spanish settlers were pioneering the American concept of logo design. From the early 16th century, they turned their cattle loose on the unfenced range to graze, with each owner's mark burnt into its hide to identify it at round-up time. 

The word "brand" has roots in the terms for sword, torch, and burnt branch, (old English bærnan). Although today a super-cold, cryogenic branding iron has made branding somewhat more humane, some herd owners now opt for the more-humane practice of ear-tagging. 

The brand designs used by Spanish cattle herders evolved into evocative symbols for the frontier era and the cowboy West. No dude ranch or steakhouse is complete without its iconic branding iron design. The abstract idea of branding, itself, has vastly expanded to become a key concept in American life. A product's brand has become a commodity with a residual value. 

A design language describes the letters and symbols of cattle brands. The letters can look like they are lazy [lying down], dragged, walking, and tilting. like many logos, they pack a lot of personality into a simple glyph. 

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