Underground Newspapers: The Chicago Seed. Part 1 (1967-69)

The Chicago Seed was an underground newspaper that published from 1967-74. For most of its existence The Seed was published bi-weekly. Visually, The Seed was one of the most consistently powerful and sophisticated of the underground papers, due in large part to the work of longtime art director Lester Dore. The first couple years of the paper (represented here) the design tended to be psychedelic and hippie-ish, with rock concert poster-style covers (and constantly changing logo typography), lots of graphics and underground comix, a generous use of interior color, and a lyrical approach to page design. Post-1968, The Seed developed a much harder-hitting and direct approach to cover and interior design (we’ll have a look at Seed covers from 1969-73 early next year). The two examples below from 1969 still resonate with the influences of psychedelic posters, but they’re much more graphic and contemporary in their style.

Noted underground cartoonist Skip Williamson, who lived in Chicago, did numerous covers, inside illustrations and cartoons for the paper.

Almost the entire publishing run of The Seed is available in digital form (complete issues) at the Independent Voices archive, which was the source of all the covers in this collection.

To see a selection of Seed covers, see The Radical Art of Chicago Seed via the Chicago Reader.

[As with most underground papers of the period, illustration and design credits in The Seed are spotty. We’ll update them as we get more information.]

(Above): July 1, 1968. Cover art by Filth Studios (Paul Zmiewski).

October 14-November 3, 1967. Cover art by Lester Dore.

April 20, 1968. Cover art by Hobo Graphics (James Roslof).

February 12, 1968. Cover art by Karl-Heinz Meschbach.

September 1967

May 15, 1969. Cover art by Lester Dore.

June 1, 1969.

September 22-October 12, 1967. Cover art by Lester Dore.

December 1, 1967. Wrap-around cover. Cover art by Don Lewis.

March 15-29, 1968.

January 1, 1968. Cover art by Lester Dore.

December 30, 1967. Cover art by Jim Roslof.


Further reading

Underground newspapers: The Berkeley Tribe
Underground newspapers: Helix (Seattle)
Underground newspapers: The Great Speckled Bird (Atlanta)