“Arte Comercial” (Commercial Art) was one of the few examples in the Spanish publishing world of a journal specializing in the field of advertising. Founded in 1946 by Emeterio Melendreras, a professional that straddled the fields of advertising and design management, it included works by most of the graphic designers of the time: Manolo Prieto Alonso, Ferrer Sama, Garay, Napoleón Campos, Gonzalo Alonso, Boni, Pedraza, Zubía, Coronado, Mairata, Chaves Nogales, or Ramón Serny were some of the people that took part, for example, in the contest for the best original magazine cover.
“Arte Comercial” covered many different topics such as “What a manager must know about advertising”, “Advertising or propaganda”, “Poetry in brands” or its peculiar “World News” section. Among these, the magazine gave particular importance to the poster through reviews of poster contests – which were very popular at the time – such as those organized by Iberia (Spanish national airline), the Patronato de Apuestas Mutuas Deportivas (the foundation that administers the national football lottery) or those for the San Isidro (patron of the city of Madrid) festival (see previous post). Contributors such as Gil Fillol or Alfonso Mangada, who was the editor in chief during a period of time, analyzed Tourism or bullfighting posters.
It is surprising that “Arte Commercial” called itself an “Advertising and Organization Technical Journal”, although it is possible to infer the meaning of “organization” in this particular case: the journal also aimed to inform professionals in this field about their rights under the Spanish intellectual property law in effect at the time, about the most appropriate advertising terminology or to give notice of invitations to tender with sufficient time to apply.
Manolo Prieto promoted himself in the publication through small advertising sections he labeled “Miniature Exhibitions” in which, alongside a reproduction of some of his work and his trademark signature consisting of straight lines, he would include the following phrase: “His creations appeal and persuade”. This brief statement of principles distilled a well thought out strategy and showed that “Arte Comercial” was for him and for his colleagues of the time a fundamental tool in the development of their careers as graphic designers.