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  #1  
Old 03-11-2007, 07:36 AM
Secret Volcano Lair Secret Volcano Lair is offline
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Whats with the "pointing fingers" on old posters?

You know, the ones that are on 19th century posters, like the ones here and here.

Was this just the style of the time? Why a pointing finger and not something else?
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  #2  
Old 03-11-2007, 07:50 AM
essell essell is offline
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The Pointing guesture has always, and instinctivley, been used to draw someone's attention to the object being pointed at. It's also considered authoritative. It's giving a command not a request.

One poster seems to be selling something (Or it might be a political poster given it's mention of 200 jack asses) and the second seems to be issued by some sort of law enforcement agency. Both positions of power and authority and both want your attention. I can think of no other guesture than a pointing finger that would suit the posters better.
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  #3  
Old 03-11-2007, 02:12 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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What's the question? The fingers point at something you're supposed to look at.

I don't get it.
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  #4  
Old 03-11-2007, 02:13 PM
Spatial Rift 47 Spatial Rift 47 is offline
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If I may, I think the question is more along the lines of "why were these used so much at the time, as opposed to now, when we never see them?"
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  #5  
Old 03-11-2007, 02:56 PM
Intelligently Designed Intelligently Designed is offline
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Among explanations:

Old-time posters were mainly made of text. They couldn't resort to colors to gather attention, and photos were scarce. They had to use some other gimmick.

Also keep in mind that many people at the time were illiterate or very poor readers. Finger-pointing helped them focus on the important part of the message without getting lost.
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  #6  
Old 03-11-2007, 03:06 PM
jjimm jjimm is offline
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No idea!
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  #7  
Old 03-11-2007, 03:11 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is online now
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It was a style element that fell out of style. It's similar to a 60s rock music poster: the style is not used any more since it's become old-fashioned (except when used ironically). Nowadays, you're more likely to use other typographical styles -- bullets, indents -- in order to make things clear.
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  #8  
Old 03-11-2007, 03:15 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intelligently Designed
Among explanations:

Old-time posters were mainly made of text. They couldn't resort to colors to gather attention, and photos were scarce. They had to use some other gimmick.
Not only that, but they were typeset by hand. To the printer who had those pointing hands in amongst their stock of letters, numbers, etc., there must have been a great temptation to use them.
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  #9  
Old 03-11-2007, 04:00 PM
Secret Volcano Lair Secret Volcano Lair is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spatial Rift 47
If I may, I think the question is more along the lines of "why were these used so much at the time, as opposed to now, when we never see them?"
Yes, this is what I was asking. I know they're obviously supposed to be pointing out important things. Sorry if it sounded like a stupid question, but thanks for the responses.
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  #10  
Old 03-11-2007, 05:50 PM
Don't fight the hypothetical Don't fight the hypothetical is offline
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I'm guessing they fell out of favor after everyone learned how to 'read' those posters. Think of early cartoons where the characters always pointed to what the animators wanted you to see or movies where flashbacks (for example) were indicated with swirls. Things are more subtle due to audience sophistication, IMO.
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  #11  
Old 03-11-2007, 06:29 PM
Zeldar Zeldar is offline
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Somewhere along the way, the pointing finger must have given way to quote marks. Movie titles, for one thing, were nearly always in quotes in the 40's. You don't see that much anymore, either.

The ubiquitous and usually wrongly applied quotes are still in fashion in certain areas purely to call attention to names or other aspects of a sign or announcement. They can be quite humorous when the quotes are interpreted as implying something is quasi- or faux- or simulated- whatever.

Example: Today's Menu "Special"
Mom's "Homemade Apple" Pie

One additional reason the pointing finger may have dropped off in usage could be it's not all that easy to draw. such things as --> or > or *** or : have appeared in similar places that bold of italics have replaced. For a while in my earlier internet text efforts, before the specialized tags were available, ALL CAPS and **this sort of stuff** were all over the place.

In short, eye candy that got cloying after better methods became available.
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  #12  
Old 03-11-2007, 06:35 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink
Not only that, but they were typeset by hand. To the printer who had those pointing hands in amongst their stock of letters, numbers, etc., there must have been a great temptation to use them.
No automatic centred justification, don't forget - the use of a big block such as the 'hand' one would reduce the number of pieces needed, in turn reducing preparation time for what were presumably low-budget affairs.

Another related thought, coming from a minimal knowledge of printing processes - in the OP's example, leaving the hands out and having the large section of whitespace could cause stretching or distortion due to the unequal pressures on the paper? In other words, something needs to be there, so why not a hand?
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  #13  
Old 03-12-2007, 01:42 AM
panache45 panache45 is online now
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In typographers' lingo, they are called "fists," and there are many, many styles, including female.
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  #14  
Old 03-12-2007, 09:30 AM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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With nail polish?
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  #15  
Old 03-12-2007, 12:19 PM
Cervaise Cervaise is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panache45
In typographers' lingo, they are called "fists," and there are many, many styles, including female.
Okay, so, if this is male:

F

Does that mean this is female?

B

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  #16  
Old 03-12-2007, 01:00 PM
Aioua Aioua is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
No automatic centred justification, don't forget - the use of a big block such as the 'hand' one would reduce the number of pieces needed, in turn reducing preparation time for what were presumably low-budget affairs.

Another related thought, coming from a minimal knowledge of printing processes - in the OP's example, leaving the hands out and having the large section of whitespace could cause stretching or distortion due to the unequal pressures on the paper? In other words, something needs to be there, so why not a hand?
The hand doesn't save any time or money. It'd be easier to use blank slugs to fill in the space in the frame. Well not easier, but not any harder, either.

Also, ideally, the frame with the type just barely kisses the paper. Despite it being called a press, it doesn't need a lot a pressure. So distortion tends not to be much of a problem. Try it yourself: bust open a ballpoint pen and see how much pressure you need to get the ink to stick to your shirt, pants, hair, SO, small forest animals, &c.

Last edited by Aioua; 03-12-2007 at 01:01 PM.. Reason: clarification
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  #17  
Old 03-12-2007, 03:58 PM
Philster Philster is offline
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Numerous regulations (''Exit'' signs for one) have standardized certain symbols, and this has also led to the demise of the fist/finger pointing.

With workplaces, public building and traffic signs being regulated for safety, most people were eventually exposed to standard symbols: Arrows
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  #18  
Old 03-12-2007, 06:13 PM
Full Metal Lotus Full Metal Lotus is offline
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The "fists" or pointing hand symbols were often used as graphic elements in signs, generally just as one would use an arrow grapohic today "EXIT===>" for instance.

The earlier comment about a society in which litteracy was not high meant that graphic elements were often NOT symbolic or decorative, but functional.

That tradition of design naturally made its way into print advertising.

Regards
FML
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  #19  
Old 03-12-2007, 06:28 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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It's just a form of bullets popular in those days. If you look at the font set for Dixieland or Dingbats, you will find hands, dots, squares, stars, diamonds, triangles, starbursts, arrows, pencils, pens, checks, planes, telephones, fingers in many positions, scissors, crosses, flowers, card suits, numbers, stars in circles, circles in stars, and snowflakes, no two alike.
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  #20  
Old 03-12-2007, 08:31 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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In those days? What about these days?
Just hover your mouse cursor over a link. Watch what happens to the cursor. Ah-hah!
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  #21  
Old 03-12-2007, 08:32 PM
The Great Sun Jester The Great Sun Jester is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aioua
The hand doesn't save any time or money. It'd be easier to use blank slugs to fill in the space in the frame. Well not easier, but not any harder, either.
True, but slugs don't wear well during the printing process and the ink just shrivels them up anyway.
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  #22  
Old 03-13-2007, 01:37 AM
Aioua Aioua is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya
True, but slugs don't wear well during the printing process and the ink just shrivels them up anyway.
Well, sure, if you're using an inferior salt-based ink... I true pro knows how to mix up a prime batch salt free.
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