Alvin Lustig – The Collected writings

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The images above are from the introduction to The collected writings of graphic designer Alvin Lustig (c1958). When I first found out about this book, I was going nuts trying to find a copy. I wasn’t able to find one, so I had to settle for a photocopy of the one presently in the RISD library. A couple of years ago, I finally tracked one down. It was worth the wait. It’s a short book (only 95 pages), but it has some real nuggets. It contains interviews and articles on Alvin from Interiors magazine, AIGA Journal, Design Quarterly, Type Talks and a few other sources. Wonderful insight into his design thinking and process.

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Sweet CAPAC logo nectar

CAPAC lp cover art design and logo
CAPAC lp cover art design and logo

The Asian American Film Festival is in San Francisco now, so I had a chance to check out “Blood Brothers” which is one of the more recent films produced by John Woo. Anyone else seen this? Overall I thought it was pretty cheesy, but the ending wasn’t too bad. On the way to the theater I stopped by my friend Cool Chris’s record shop. Chris runs Groove Merchant which is notorious amongst beat diggers and record collectors as the place to go if you want to find rare jazz, funk and library lps. While I was there Chris hit me off with a copy of the record above.

The John Hawkins lp seen above is part of a series of 45s (the little records..7″) initiated by CAPAC (Composers, Authors and Publishers Association of Canada Limited). I’m less concerned with the music on this album as I am with the design of the logo. The rounded letters take form as records with the lines of different weights creating the grooves. It wasn’t uncommon to see logo treatments like this in the 1970s and I think this is one of the better examples.

Typographes d’Estienne – French Type Specimen book

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Typographes d’Estienne 1950

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any type-related goodness, so I figured it was time to post the slab of paper above. The book includes 40 – 50 pages of modern San Serif specimens worked into menus, advertisements and letterheads. In addition, there are several tipped in brochures and posters you can flip through. Given the title, I would assume this is an annual and that there are other years available.

Stedelijk Museum Poster design – Wim Crouwel

Stedelijk Museum Poster design - Wim Crouwel
Stedelijk Museum program / poster c1970 – Wim Crouwel – designer

Total Design was responsible for designing many of the catalogs/ programs for the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The program above was created by Wim Crouwel and Jolijn van de Wouw (of Total Design) for an exhibition in 1970. The program folds out to a full size poster that reveals a huge letter “A” and the number “7″ which stands for Atelier 7. Atelier translates to “work shop” in English so, this might be referencing a gallery number or possibly the name of the exhibition. On the other side of the poster, it lists the artists and their artwork featured in the gallery.

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1970s Japanese poster design

1970s Japanese poster graphic design

I wish I could tell you more about this one. I pulled this out of a book I have on 70s + 80s Japanese graphic design. All the text is in Japanese so, I have no clue on who designed this. Anyone recognize this work? I have no idea why theres a gaggle of balloon animals chillin in a tree. If someone could translate the text below the animals, that would be great.

Jacques Nathan Garamond Telefunken poster

Jacques Nathan Garamond Telefunken poster
Poster for Telefunken c1965

The piece above is one of a series of posters that paris based designer Jacques Nathan Garamond produced for Telefunken. I just wish I could cut out that Telefunken logo. It kind of kills the vibe of this poster. You have all these round edges on the type and the reel to reel player and theres this crazy sharp edge ninja star with lightning bolts.

During the 1950-1960s Garamond began deconstructing objects into geometric shapes. This is evident in the print above as well as his poster work for Air France. I’ll try to scan in some of the Air France posters when I get a chance.

Charles Harper Illustrations – Giant Golden Book of Biology

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Giant Golden Book of Biology – An Introduction to the Science of Life c1961
Text by Gerald Ames and Rose Wyler – Illustrated by Charley Harper

It doesn’t get much better then this. This is Charley in his prime.

“In a style he called “minimal realism”, Charley Harper captured the essence of his subjects with the fewest possible visual elements. When asked to describe his unique visual style, Charley responded:

When I look at a wildlife or nature subject, I don’t see the feathers in the wings, I just count the wings. I see exciting shapes, color combinations, patterns, textures, fascinating behavior and endless possibilities for making interesting pictures. I regard the picture as an ecosystem in which all the elements are interrelated, interdependent, perfectly balanced, without trimming or unutilized parts; and herein lies the lure of painting; in a world of chaos, the picture is one small rectangle in which the artist can create an ordered universe.[cite this quote]

He contrasted his nature-oriented artwork with the realism of John James Audubon, drawing influence from Cubism, Minimalism, Einsteinian physics and countless other developments in Modern art and science. His style distilled and simplified complex organisms and natural subjects, yet they are often arranged in a complex fashion. On the subject of his simplified forms, Harper noted:

I don’t think there was much resistance to the way I simplified things. I think everybody understood that. Some people liked it and others didn’t care for it. There’s some who want to count all the feathers in the wings and then others who never think about counting the feathers, like me.”

- Wikipedia

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Vintage Dutch Arnhem Map

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Map of the Battlefields of Arrnhem and Oosterbeek

The battlefields of Arnhem and Oosterbeek in the Netherlands never looked so good as they do in Pink and Teal. The battles were part of Operation Market Garden. It was here that the famous “First Airborne Divison” consisting of more then 8000 men, under the command of Major-General Urquhart, glided down to earth on the morning of Sunday September 17, 1944.

The scaley, snake looking trail in the lower half of the map represents the Rhine River. The battlefields can be seen as the solid patches of brown. I really appreciate how the map designer cut away the airplane and parachute icons from that mass of brown. Simple, effective and creates some interesting shapes within the negative space.

You can read more about Operation Market Garden at wikipedia.

On a sidenote, watched “King of Kong” this weekend. Great flick. Definitely biased in its presentation but none the less Billy still comes off like a really sorry bob. After all the talk of competitive gaming and playing in front of people, I was surprised that he didn’t step up to the challenge at the Guinness event in Florida. Thoughts?

Jean David – vintage travel posters from Israel

Posters of Jean David graphic designer from Israel
Israel -the land of the Bible Tourism posters by Jean David (L) c1954 (r) 195?
produced for the State of Israel Tourist Centre

My Knowledge of Jean David (Sometimes referred to as Jan David) is limited. However, what work I’ve seen from him has been nothing less that stellar. Just look at the posters above. I could easily see someone slanging these at a Flatstock poster convention. Dang, I totally nerd out when I see this stuff. Its just so good.

Looks like the whale is riding a boat of waves. Meanwhile, Jonah is relaxing after downing a keg of Vitamen C. Just look at all that orange!

Swiss modern graphic design – chemical industry

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Publicity and graphic design in the chemical industry – Hans Neuburg 1967
(Chemie Werbung und Grafik)
Contributions by Josef Muller Brockmann

Clap your hands if you love swiss design.

This has to be one of the best books on graphic design in the chemical industry. Ha! this is probably the only book on graphic design in the chemical industry. Most of the design work in the book is for pharmaceutical companies like J R Geigy and Ciba Aktiengesellschaft, both located in Basel, Switzerland.

The index in the back reads like the who’s who of Swiss design. Designers include: Karl Gerstner, Herbert Leupin, Siegfried Odermatt, Hans Erni, Max Schmid, Fred Troller and Kurt Wirth amongst others.

Just look at the pictures above, the work is incredible. Anyone have any nominations for pharmaceutical/ chemical companies that have great design? Maybe we should put together a top 5 list. For example, the always fun top 5 favorite poisonous gas logos.

Also of interest, this Hans Neuburg poster design.