Detroit Printing Co-op Union Bug
- Fredy Perlman 42 Artist
- Logo 56
- Detroit 91
Detroit Printing Co-op union bug designed by Fredy Perlman, 1970. "The materials printed at the Co-op are identifiable through the inclusion of the Detroit Printing Co-op’s union label, also called a “bug,” printed somewhere on an opening or closing page. A union bug is a small badge that appears on materials printed at union shops—discreetly placed, they usually appear near the edge of the printed area, and include the printer’s shop number. They often read “Allied Printing,” an indication that all aspects of the work—from typesetting to printing to trimming and folding—were performed by union labor. Union bugs were first placed on printed material produced by the International Typographical Union (ITU) in the late nineteenth century. These have a precedent in printer’s marks, which have appeared in books since the late fifteenth century. At the time, a printer’s mark represented both the publishing house and the print shop, which were one and the same place.18 As the work of the typesetter and the printer became separated from that of the publish-er—one worked with machines and the other worked with ideas—printers fell more cleanly into the category of “workers” than “thinkers,” but there has always been some overlap." The Detroit Printing Co-op by Danielle Aubert.
"Unlike some other IWW union bugs from this time period, such as New York City’s hand-drawn badge for Come!Unity Press (with the tagline “Survival by Sharing”) or even the Oberlin, Ohio New Media Workshop’s “An injury to one is an injury to all,” the Detroit Co-op’s bug directly commands the reader to act (“Abolish the state!”). It eschews cuteness or any romanticizing of what it means to upend the wage system. It isn’t hand-drawn—it isn’t something you can do at home—it is machine made, all caps, insistent." The Detroit Printing Co-op by Danielle Aubert.