The Gene Federico Papers span the years 1918-2003, with the bulk of the collection dating 1951-1991. The collection documents Federico's sixty years as a pioneering leader in advertising and graphic design, and contains materials from a variety of formats, including correspondence, writings, advertisements proofs and clippings, graphic design and printed materials, posters, sketches/sketchbooks, photographs, negatives, and videotapes. In addition to limited personal and biographical material, the collection primarily documents Federico's creative output as a graphic designer, art director, and advertising executive at agencies including Grey Advertising, Doyle Dane Bernbach, Douglas D. Simon, Benton & Bowles, Warwick & Legler, and as a principal at Lord Geller Federico Einstein; the collection has limited material relating to the specific agencies for which he worked. The collection also documents Federico's extensive freelance and exhibition work throughout his career (most notably the "Love of Apples" and "24-Page Book" designs), in addition to his later consulting work for Brouillard Communications. Client advertisements and graphic design materials compose the majority of the collection. Significant clients represented include: Christian Dior; Elektra Records; Elizabeth Arden; Goldman Sachs; IBM; L'Aiglon Apparel; Lady Pepperell; Napier; The New Yorker; and Woman's Day. Though an art director throughout most of his career, Federico contributed significantly to the graphic design and typographical components of advertising. Through clear and innovative integration of design and typographical components, Federico pioneered the use of visual puns in advertisements, and emphasized clarity of message over design complexity. The collection will be of particular value to researchers interested in developments in print advertising and typographical design since World War II. The collection is organized into six series which focus on Federico's contributions to advertising and graphic design: Professional Files, Personal Files, Graphic Design, Advertising Campaigns, Photographs and Negatives, and Videocassettes.
The Professional Files Series includes business correspondence, professional writings, award/exhibit materials, press clippings and industry publications, in addition to limited files on the Art Directors Club of New York City and Lord Geller Federico Einstein. The Personal Files Series includes biographical and family materials; memorabilia documenting Federico's years as a student at Abraham Lincoln High School and Pratt Institute; World War II materials, including U.S. Army publications/posters produced by Federico and four sketchbooks; and original artwork (drawings, sketches, prints) not related to Federico's professional design and advertising work. The Graphic Design Series documents Federico's extensive graphic design work, including announcements and cards, book and record cover designs, calendars, design concepts, illustrations, letterhead, posters, transparencies, and typographic materials, as well as materials by other artists and designers. The Advertising Campaigns Series includes advertisement clippings and proofs, concepts and sketches, and client reports, representing over one hundred clients in a variety of industries. (Series contains a renowned example of Federico's use of visual puns: a 1953 Woman's Day advertisement - "She's got to Go Out to get Woman's Day " - which features a woman on a bicycle, the wheels of which form the "O"s in "Go Out.") The Photographs and Negatives Series includes both black & white and color images of Federico's advertising and graphic design work, Federico and his associates in a business setting, and a limited selection of personal and family photographs. The Videocassettes Series includes seven videotapes of commercials, short films, and memorial tributes documenting Federico's career in graphic design and advertising. Large-format materials (clippings, proofs, sketches, posters) have been removed from their original series location and relocated to Oversize Materials.
Other materials related to this collection may be found in the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives: Competitive Advertisements Collection and Corporation Vertical Files. For materials relating specifically to the advertising agency Benton & Bowles, consult the D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles Advertisements and Archives. Materials relevant to Lord Geller Federico Einstein and advertising strategy may be found in the Arthur Einstein Papers. For materials relating to Brouillard Communications and Doyle Dane Bernbach Advertising, see the Thomas F. Garbett Papers. Materials relevant to IBM advertising may be found in the Edgar Hatcher Papers.