Handbook of Pictorial Symbols

Handbook of Pictorial Symbols

With a collection of 3,250 glorious icons, Handbook of Pictorial Symbols is great inspiration for any designer. Gathered from sources from around the world, these elegant yet minimal icons are a reminder that simplicity is truly key. Below is a small selection of my favorites from the book.


Mimmo Castellano: Posters and Packaging

Mimmo Castellano

Mimmo Castellano is an award-winning graphic designer and photographer who got his start in the port city of Bari located in the South-East corner of Italy. It was here that he landed a position with Laterza, a prominent publishing house, where he designed many of the book covers. This collaboration would last for over twenty years. In the late 60s he moved to Milan to further his career as a designer and taught at the European Institute of Design. In more recent years he has been researching digital imaging connected with photography and photomechanics.


Harry Murphy + Friends

“The Gap Records and Tapes, San Francisco.”

Graphic Design San Francisco is a book that was published in the late ’70s by the Institute for Graphic Design (which would later become AIGA SF) and Chronicle Books. For the first in a series of posts about the works of San Francisco Bay Area designers and firms, as their portfolios stood on the brink of the ’80s, I present to you Harry Murphy + Friends.

“The Philosophy of Harry Murphy + Friends is to maintain design work of consistently high quality, while producing a large volume of projects involving an exceptionally wide range of related disciplines, frequently with rigorous deadlines.

Since locating in the San Francisco area in 1966, Harry Murphy + Friends has won over 700 national and international design awards for architectural graphics, space design, environmental art, corporate identity, print graphics, and packaging.”


American Trademark Designs

American Trademark Designs

For my first post here at Grain Edit, I’m going to share one of my favorite design books from my bookshelf: American Trademark Designs. Published in 1976 by Dover Books and written and compiled by Barbara Baer Capitman, this book is chock full of 732 delicious black, bold, and inky vintage logos. My favorite aspect of this book is that it showcases extremely recognizable logos that have been stamped into the back of our eyelids (IBM, Mr. Peanut, Pepsi-Cola, Playboy) right alongside rarely seen identities created by tiny firms for tiny companies. Some marks are also showcased next to their former, replaced versions, displaying the brand’s evolution.

I’ve scanned some of my favorite graphics to share with you. A portion of this book is also available for view in Google Books, but it’s much more interesting on paper.


Gottschalk + Ash

Fritz Gottschalk

Poster for the Theatre Company at the St. Lawrence Centre

Gottschalk + Ash was founded in Montreal in 1966 by Swiss-born Fritz Gottschalk and Canadian native Stuart Ash. Independently and collaboratively, the two have racked up numerous design awards and honors over the last 40 years, with highlights that include identity work for Ciba and a re-design of the Swiss passport. Their work shown above is a great example of Swiss precision and a playful, more humanized take on design.


Born Modern: The Life and Design of Alvin Lustig

alvin lustig born modern

I’m so excited, I just got my hands on a copy of Born Modern: The Life and Design of Alvin Lustig. After several years in the making, the highly anticipated book by Steven Heller & Elaine Lustig Cohen (Alvin’s wife) was finally released by Chronicle books last week. This is the first monograph devoted to this master of modern design, whose brief but prolific career had a profound and lasting influence on a generation of designers to come.


Rock Paper Show

rock paper show

Almost exactly 8 years ago the first Flatstock poster show was held in San Francisco. I remember anxiously awaiting my entrance into the show, and subsequently being in awe over the work displayed. I admired all of the work shown, and eventually bought a print from Seripop.

All of the posters exhibited promoted rock shows happening in venues throughout the country and the world. Many exciting books have followed that first Flatstock, covering the exploding rock poster scene. Rock Paper Show is quite a different take on the gig-poster, however — highlighting the posters that were designed to promote the Flatstock event itself. The book contains great work from some of the top-notch poster designers around, including Jeff Kleinsmith, The Bird Machine, Aesthetic Apparatus, The Heads of State, The Small Stakes, f2 Design, and so many more.


Ayao Yamana’s Graphic Design

ayao yamana

Tomingekijo Music Circle concert pamphlets from 1963

In a prolific career that spanned over 5 decades, Japanese designer Ayao Yamana left behind a rich body of work that few could duplicate. He is mainly known for his elegant and delicate illustrations of women which graced the packaging and printed advertisements for Shiseido cosmetics. These concert pamphlet covers for the Tomingekijo Music Circle represent a side of Yamana that is less familiar, but equally as impressive.


Creative, Inc. Book Tour

creative inc

Our good friends at Chronicle Books recently released Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business. Co-written by Joy Cho and Meg Mateo Ilasco, this helpful guide is packed with expert advice on finding agents, negotiating fees, licensing work and dealing with taxes. Also included are useful resources and interviews with experienced designers and illustrators.

I’m excited to welcome both Meg and Joy to Grain Edit today for a special Q&A session. Ok, here we go!


Peter Stuyvesant Matches

peter stuyvesant matches

Peter Stuyvesant matchbook from Finland.