by Art Chantry:
been looking for one of these for decades. finally found one in a goodwill yesterday (for a buck)! a very cool ‘color blindness’ test book. official name: “pseudo-isochromatic plates for testing color perception”, by the american optical company.
these color code test pages are printed beautifully and treated as tip-in plates, one per two-page spread. the process of a ‘plate’ means the images are printed somewhere else (in this case, some really wonderful litho process) where the color can be exactingly controlled. then they are trimmed out and literally glued by hand on to the pages. it’s a very expensive process (labor intensive as well) that insures extreme high quality at the lowest possible price tag (short of printing the entire book on the most expensive process imaginable). usually this is seen in high end fine art books. but, it shows up in many many trade publications, too. for instance this medical book.
in the history of popular publishing, there was one magazine published back in the 1950′s/early 60′s that had the gimmick of using enormous numbers of tip-ins as their special niche. other magazines (like FLAIR) did die-cuts and special paper and fold outs as a gimmick. but this magazine i’m talking about (called GENTRY) had tip-ins on almost every page. it might be cloth samples or fine art reproductions or original art or fishing flies (in little cellophane envelopes) or even pouches of tobacco.
this wonderful magazine didn’t last very long (a couple of years), but when it was around, it was pretty amazing to look at. to begin with it was designed by alvin lustig (one of the post-war greats of euro-style amercian graphic design). in an early issue, they give away the little secret on ‘how it was done’. on page 86, they showed a photograph of a large room with scores of pretty young women sitting at large tables with little pieces of stuff and pots of glue. they were literally pasting each thing by hand on the presmises! crazy. they basically went broke because of the expense.
but, back to this color blind test. i reproduce here the one test i had the most trouble with. can you read the number buried int the dots? i have a hard time seeing this one. most of the other tests are simple and easy to figure out for me. but this one i have to stare at a while. if you need to be told the answer, i have it “hidden” in the paragraph immediately above. then get yer eyeballs checked out…