Identify the Design/Style

Hi, sorry it’s not about type but I need some help to identify the style (painting/design) of the crate label. I have seem this style used on the vintage labels and posters, and could anyone please tell me what the style is called? Is there a specail term? Thank you! Howard


I don’t know a term for it but it shows the influence of serigraphy and Japanese printmaking. It uses areas of solid color/shading to produce a 3D effect. The pastel colors of the background compared to the darker and more saturated foreground is a standard method of creating perspective. I think I’ve seen that same mountain in a book of Adobe Illustrator tips (not sure I can find it though).

Thank you for all the information!

pastel colors .. are a standard method

And me an editor!

I’m not sure what the particular style in your example is called, but I believe it is a typical example of guache painting, quite popular in commercial illustration in the early to mid 20th century. It is a kind of opaque watercolor which dries fairly quickly. This is probably why you usually see lots of flat color.

Actually these fruit labels were probably lithographs. But may have been based on original gouache illustrations.

See here.

I’m also not sure there’s a name for the style.

We should rename this board to “Type Identification and General Art Trivia” :-)

- Lex


Thanks for everyone’s help! And I am going to do some more research now :-)


I would describe that as “posterization”.

A term coined to describe the result of reproducing a con-tone image as set of spot colours.

As Tom mentioned, it certainly was a common technique for screen printers, particularly in the days of paper stencils before photo-emulsion and consistant fine grade polyester mesh.

Google offers lots of hits.

In the old times these labels were done in lithography (drawing on stones…).
Dutch designer Gielijn Escher (no relation to M.C., as far as I know) has a very extensive collection and is the author of a book about this — it was privately published in 1976 in the Netherlands by Rosbeek Printers as a ‘goodwill publication’ and probably unavalaible (I may have it somewhere in storage). Title: The Wonderfull world of American Fruit-Crate-Art