And So They Might
And that is a quote, baby.
Not from one person but several including some comic professionals from the UK who will not repeat those words in public because “I just do not want the grief that follows saying that!
Oh, yes. On the old CBO I got the reaction to writing things like this but not just off the top of my head for controversy but fully backed up by facts and statistics. I once suggested that all UK comic bloggers add a banner to their sites: “Let’s Revive The UK Comic Industry” and the reaction?
I was told I had “a Saviour complex” and a lot worse. “Oh, so YOU are going to come and save us all?!!” Really nasty things were written and not just on CBO but on comic blogs and forums.
Let me make this clear (because ALL the postings and responses were kept –a full file of all this is with a solicitor “in case”): I was being attacked because I suggested all of us in UK comics get together and try to rebuild the comic industry as best we could.
At that point I realised that the main problem was that we never really had an industry anyway –the comics business was so crooked that it used to be known to tax people as “the double cooked books with triple layer mud”. Distributors were no better and often acted in collusion with publishers.
Once the fan-boy got into comics that was it.
But I was asked why I do not include the Small Press as the new comics industry? Well, I believe that I have written before that it is but it does no real good. It is a dilettante comics industry.
Someone just Googled “Dilettante Comics” to see if they are collectibles.
Now I know people do tend to misconstrue my words even though I try to make them clear so hold on to your lederhosen.
I began drawing as a youngster. In school I edited the school magazine Starkers The Magazine That Tells The Naked Truth which was in…1971/72? The title came from the Deputy Head, Mr. Wright –an ex-RAF man and one of the most popular teachers at Greenway Boys School. I do know that there was/is a magazine by that name from London(?). Never seen it and I did an internet search recently and cannot find reference to it. I am positive that I did see it advertised in publications such as Fortean Times (in the old days).
Anyway, one of the school secretaries complained and it was stopped at printing and burned. Also, the rather pompous religious Head Master disliked immensely that I called it a “zine” –it was NOT a magazine and I kept saying it was a “little magazine –a zine”.
I later did lots of other work with newsletters, magazines, printers and from the late 1970s on, the Small Press world of fanzines. I have a big collection of Small Press publications –poetry, prose fiction/sci fi as well as fanzines and comics. Unlike today, the 1980s saw people from all over the UK exchanging their zines and if anyone needed a strip to fill a page or so everyone chipped in. This was in letter writing days –no internet and phone calls were too expensive.
Also, we all knew comics. Whether UK weeklies or the US comics from Marvel, DC, Charlton or the rather obscure companies. And, of course, we all had our Alan Class comics. Strange to think how many of us were into horror movies and particularly some of the classic black and white movies. Then again, we were working in a black and white medium. I was very happy when I also discovered a great many zinesters were fans of Orson Welles because of his masterful use of angles, shadows and the B&W medium.
In other words we were a community without internet and only after the Westminster Comic Marts and other one day events became more popular in the 1980s did any of us meet up. There is a term you don’t hear these days –“marts” that were, basically, a hall full of people selling comics and zines and creators meeting up. Going to the Westminster Marts was fun but we must have looked odd: meeting in a corner or on a staircase feeling different types of paper we drew on. Checking out each others pencils, pens (one typo and a letter “i” there and I could put a whole new slant on things!), brushes, sniffing inks and pens –checking which were alcohol based or whatever because certain pens combined with certain papers or boards could be very messy. Most of all we talked.
Apart from one or two incidents involving certain people I was never once accused of throwing anyone out of a window or into the Thames. There were no witnesses. Understand? NO….WITNESSES.
Most of us were starting work in comics or already working in the medium. We knew about our subject. Everything except earning big money!
Mastering a photocopier not to mention paste-ups, removing ghost-lines and so on was not something you had a choice in. It was what you had to learn if you were in comics.
In the mid-1990s computers started appearing and before you knew it everyone new who came along was thinking they were going to produce and get rich from a Teenage Mutant Turtles or Blade Runner rip off. And the ‘new pros’ –well some were quite open about using tracing paper to draw their comics. In the huge stack of news zines and papers I have there are some true horror stories about this. Stick figures as “a genuine artistic comic medium”…..no, I really never did throw that man in the Thames though he deserved to be.
And it only got worse. Once the wave of mostly untalented creators vanished they were replaced by those arty farty elitists who believed that only European comics –Bandes Dessinee matter and that everything else was purile. Those people had been around in the 1980s and we used to call them “bow-tie *******” (this is a family site). Here is the problem, though. These people only considered Franco-Belgian BD (must NOT call them “comics”!) legitimate. Spain and Italy had comic industries and though Germany had a small industry that mainly reprinted Franco-Belgian and US comics Bastei Verlag at least had their books going to more than a dozen European countries.
Alan Clark and the late Denis Gifford –particularly Denis- were nastily mocked and their work looked at as “low interest” because, unless it was The Beano, The Dandy, The Eagle were any other publications or creators not in those comics of any worth? Denis had a life long love of comics which the alcohol and dope loving new creators didn’t like. Despite the lies and rumours I can tell you that Denis did receive and read Small Press publications –including mine.
People who were “names” in the 1980s continued to hang on in though, and I find it funny, they become media comic luvvies but you go to a Small/Alternative Press event and mention their names and you get blank looks! But, if as “media luvvies” they get to pay their rent, eat and enjoy life good luck to them. I have no problem with that.
Now while comic Expos –the new “Marts”- are popping up all over the country it has to be said that, say, 90% have no interest in the Small Press and have never seen a SP comic –and if they have they probably grimaced the same way their mothers do when they find that “odd stain” on the bed sheets (ladies I ask you to submit your own comic slob image).
One comic geek –because TV programmes such as The Big Bang Theory have made comics “hip” and everyone wants to be known or called a comic geek. Bless, they’ll tire of it after a while. And everyone is a new comic collector spending money on the ‘cool’ comics that many do not read and a few think that because they were conned into paying huge amounts for a comic featuring a character(s) from new movies –which they find out are NOT the movie characters- they think will make them rich one day….when every other one of the THOUSANDS of copies of that comic suddenly turn to dust!
Comics toys, cosplay (including those with no knowledge or interest in comics) and TV/Movie merchandise are their world. Honestly, real old style comic fans are driven away from events and their passion by hugely inflated prices of comics and event entry fees.
Then we have the SP/AP people. Never heard of Stan Lee (other than “Is he that old guy –the character from The Big Bang Theory?”. Never heard (NEVER) of Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko. John Romita snr (notJnr) or John or Sal Buscema? Gene Colan? John Byrne? No. “Oh, they made a comic out of that Avengers film?” –it’s at this point that I usually fall to my knees (which hurts) and raise my fists to the heavens and scream out “KHAAAAAAAAAAAAN!” and some ***** says “Mr Khnan from the TV comedy series? Why –is he okay?”
Honestly, I make a point of talking to these people and most, let’s face it, are at the oldest in their mid-30s so have never known UK comics other than the horrendous merchandise crap with toys attached. Big names in UK comics –John Cooper? No. Mike Western? No. Terry Hooper-Scharf? “Didn’t he used to be held hostage somewhere?” Yes. I have a beard so I’m mistaken for Terry Waite.
WHAT THE ***** DO YOU MEAN “WHO?”!!!
Well, I suppose at least he kept the handcuffs and radiator.
But these people move in their own little circles. I never realised that until I started name checking with people. Some people in zines today do go to various events outside of cliques. Our own Paul Ashley Brown –doyenne of the Bristol, London and he’s even known outside the UK.
I’m that man on the hill The Beatles sang about. “Who are the Beatles? What man –Stan Lee?” Do not try my patience……..grrrrrrrr
At events you note that exhibitors, if I may call them that, have their own entourages. Their friends and others go to their tables and talk, buy a zine, talk….Twenty tables in a room with twenty different groupings of mates who might –might- look around and possibly buy things.
These SP/AP people are producing their own comics or zines (some really do have no idea their books are classed as comics!) without having read comics. Some may have seen what friends have produced and decide to have a go. Others may have seen something about European comics. A good few start at art college. But they have no knowledge of the history of comics and I have genuinely had these young folk say “Well, when did they start comics -1970s or 1980s?”
So we have an ever increasing number of SP/AP events around the UK –in London Dimitri Pieri is a human dynamo at organising events- but most are independent of one another and some have no knowledge of the other events.
I meet the occasional creator who knows about comics but to a limited degree because, again as I found out from personal experience, most were not born until the 1980s (by which time the UK comic scene was dead) so if they are “doing comics” it is in the US format. These days I just introduce myself –“I come from the comics world of another century and you may call me…..Methuselah!”
You are getting some of these nuggets of gold, aren’t you?
Most AP/SP people have been to Art School/college or whatever –some are still students and others have full time jobs. The idea –if it is ever there as anything more than a dream- is to make zines, have fun and if you sell a copy or two –great! Very few actually get to go on to make a living out of their work and when I’ve asked about this in the past I get a furrowed brow and “make a living out of it? “ and they look at me oddly or laugh –and I am fully clothed.
Independent Comics are the same in a way. A LOT of vanity publishing –you should neverpay any publisher to have your work printed. If it is that good, even if they don’t pay: they should shoulder the costs. But I did wonder how the same publishers could attend one event after another throughout the year while claiming thay they do not sell enough books to earn a living or pay their creators? Some do make money but there are a lot of gullible creators out there.
Here is the thing and I observe these things because “its what I do”: the Indie publishers are the same as the AP/SP people. True most hope for that comic that is going to make them huge sums of money but they, too, have their groupies/entourages who do follow them to events.
You see, Print On Demand (POD) makes it possible for anyone to publish their own comics. Good quality production in both hardback and paperback. For Indie/SP/AP there is the buzz of seeing the books printed. Books with your work in. You don’t even have to learn all the old skills just use your computer –even print limited runs of zines on your own printer.
Do I get a buzz from publishing my books? No. It’s hard work and I do it to try to make a living. At events I tend to be the only person who is doing so professionally. The fact is that everyone else is doing this as a past time because they like doing it and have paying jobs so the “tomato ketchup on toast” meal is something they don’t have to face.
Do you know that back in the 1980s I regularly went without food for days? Usually three to four days and a maximum was six days –publishers didn’t care because they tried to hold back your earned cheque as much as possible (Fleetway/Egmont owe me over £5,000 from the 1990s but I’ll never see that!). Trick is that you drink fluids and when you get food eat lightly. The idea of a slap-up meal after days of no food is dumb because you will be spending a lot of time in the toilet afterwards!
I’m meandering in my textual …..what am I writing? I should make notes. And before you ask: NO, printing off copies of bank notes on your printer is no good. Shops do not accept them and they are illegal….that’s what the police told me.
You pay £25 for a table. Sell one zine or nothing but you’ve had a good day and met your mates blah blah blah. Really? That £25 loss cuts into me.
The attitude is not a professional one it is an amateur one. I like a lot of these people I meet. Some are really lovely. But they are dilettantes. Nothing wrong with the attitude but it creates a major problem.
You see, if those attending events just go to see their friends and buy their books but do not look around at other tables, maybe a glance of a few seconds, then the people who are selling books to make a living are not. You carry that over to a hundred events a year, small or large, then you are talking about many thousands of people who, were they more widely interested in comics as in the “old days”, would be looking around, checking other tables and books out (most will not even lift a book off a table let alone look inside) and chatting with creators they do not know. These days they do not.
And at a comic event you will find “dilettante fan” who only goes for cosplay but not to buy books. Or the “Nuevo geek” who is only after the “cool” Marvel or DC comics or the merchandise collector.
“Comics” has splintered into factions –one not knowing the other. In the 1980s/early 1990s, we would buy our Marvel and DCs at a mart or convention but we would also check out and buy SP books. None of the factions really knows of one another or cares. Its not “their scene.” If all of those factions did combine we would have one hell of an industry in the UK.
But that will never ever happen.
The comics background and mindset is now gone and comic ‘geeks’ make fun of or stick up their noses when the SP/AP is mentioned and vice versa. Totally and utterly ridiculous.
Try to make a living out of comics in the UK gets you no real respect.
So maybe those French BD people have a point –except they are also suffering from a stuffed shirt attitude. For decades BD publishers and collectors have looked down their noses at the “poor relations” publishing US comics in French or original French books as now published by Hexagon Comics. They just ain’t arty. But the huge success of movies tied to Marvel and DC has made a few BD publishers sit up and take notice because there is nothing more “arty” than the smell of money. So now they repackage some BD to take advantage and make money from this.
At least, though, they do have a comics industry. And I so wish Germany would wake up and get in on the act.
For the UK the dilettantes –however sweet- have taken over and it has killed us.
A more happy, warm ending to a miserable depressing posting?
Okay. A butterfly. Let’s smash a butterfly on a wheel (5 kudo points to whoever got that 1980s music reference).
Here it is, our annual book gift guide! Below you will find over 30 titles from our favorite publishers. Included are our top picks for illustration, graphic design and typography. Enjoy!
Alphabetics: An Aesthetically Awesome Alliterated Alphabet Anthology
By Patrick and Traci Concepción / Illustrations by Dawid Ryski
Published by Gestalten
C is for cat? D is for dog? Not in this book! Here, Colossal Cornelius captures his companions with his camera and Daisy the diver dares a death-defying dip with dinosaurs. In Alphabetics, each of the alphabet’s twenty-six letters is depicted with an awesome alliteration—not to mention an illuminating illustration—that will captivate and stimulate young minds.
Available at Amazon, Gestalten and your local book shop.
By Stuart Sandler / Illustrations by Derek Yaniger /
Published by Korero
112 Pages / Hardcover
Calling all junior mixologists ! Check out the coolest-ever collection of fabulous drink recipes in every flavor and style under the sun – sharp and tangy, smooth and sweet, fizzy but never flat, crisp and fruity, or rich and creamy – all minus the hooch ! Surprise your friends with a Kosmic Kooler, get the party started with a Dream Punch, or cruise to Hawaii with a Little Pink Pearl. You’ll also find tips on setting up your own kiddie cocktail bar – with advice on choosing everything you’ll need to make your cocktails look as amazing as they taste ! The entire book is lavishly illustrated by the internationally renowned artist Derek Yaniger.
Available at Korero Press and Amazon
The Best Book in the World
By Rilla Alexander / Published by Flying Eye Books
If you found the best book in the world, would you stop reading? Could you stop reading? If you had homework to do, or dinner to get through, could you put the book down? On a train to the zoo or on a flight to Kalamazoo, would that break the spell? If in a forest you walked, while scary monsters stalked… would that be enough? If every animal in the land were to be led by a big band, in a grand parade in your honour made… would you put the book down?
Join Rilla Alexander for an unforgettable and magical tale that encourages children to read.
Available at Amazon, Flying Eye Books and your local book shop.
Magic, Color, Flair: The World of Mary Blair
By John Canemaker / Published by the Walt Disney Family Foundation
176 pages / Hardcover / 10″ x 12.25″
By John Canemaker, the companion catalog to The Walt Disney Family Museum’s 2014 special exhibition with the same name Magic Color Flair the world of Mary Blair. The authoritative collection of Blair’s lifework, including her precocious early paintings, concept art from her Disney days, and the wildly wonderful artistic innovations of her later life. With an introductory essay by exhibition curator and Academy Award-winning John Canemaker, this indispensable book is a bold, lively look into the work of an equally bold and lively artist, whose invaluable influence and keen eye helped shape some of the world’s favorite Disney experiences.
Available at Amazon and The Walt Disney Family Museum Shop.
This is the World: A Global Treasury
By Miroslav Sasek / Published by Universe
234 Pages / 9.1″x12.6″
A compilation of abridged versions of M. Sasek’s most popular children’s travel books. From London to Hong Kong, Sydney to San Francisco, readers will delight in this charming journey through the world’s great cities. With deft strokes of his paintbrush and a witty voice to match, master illustrator and storyteller M. Sasek captured the essence of the world’s major capitals and brought them to life for an entire generation of young readers. Now, more than fifty years later, those same readers are passing these stories down to their children and their children’s children, and Sasek’s This is series has officially reached iconic status. Collected here for the first time in one affordable volume are some of Sasek’s most beloved adventures.
Pre-order at Amazon, Rizzoli and your local book shop.
John Alcorn: Evolution by Design
288 Pages / “9 x 11.5″
A never-before released overview of one of the most versatile designers of the 20th century, replete with revealing essays and several hundred images spanning over 4 decades, from the artist’s formative years to his untimely death at age 56. Containing an extensive account of Alcorn’s vast creative output, from posters, book illustrations, painting, advertising and design – accompanied by personal anecdotes and critical essays – the intricacy of his illustrations, the magic of his psychedelic imagery and the elegance of his execution unfold with every turn of the page.
Available at Amazon and Moleskine
Worse Things Happen at Sea
By Kellie Strom / Published by Nobrow
20 pages / 5.6″x9.1″
Inspired by tales of mythical sea creatures and the tall stories of doomed voyages passed down from sailor to son, Strøm brings us a rich tapestry of wonderment. Historical ships are attacked, enveloped and engorged by monstrous creatures surfacing from the deepest depths of the darkest oceans. Covering 20 panels each measuring 13.8cm x 23.5cm the image unfolds in front of you like a foreboding fable from the cracked lips of an old sea captain.
Taking over two years to create, the faux engraved colour separation style used for this project has been a departure from his two previous picture books, both illustrated with full colour acrylic paintings. In both techniques Strøm wrestled with creating detailed immersive worlds while also trying to preserve some of the immediacy of the original physical art.
Available at Amazon, Nobrow and your local book shop.
Eventually Everything Connects
By Loris Lora / Published by Nobrow Press
What is the link between Alfred Hitchcock and Charles and Ray Eames, or illustrator Mary Blair and actor Steve McQueen? In Eventually Everything Connects Loris Lora makes all the creative connections so you don’t have to. Explore the movers, shakers, and shapers of the arts in the Californian modernist movement in Nobrow’s hardback Leporello format.
Available at Amazon and Nobrow Press
By Todd Oldham and Caleb Neelon / Published by Ammo Books
288 Pages / 12″ x9″
Ed Emberley shies away from calling himself an artist and instead likes to say that “he draws pictures for a living.” Now in his eighties, Ed Emberley is a Caldecott award-winning children’s book illustrator and writer who has been creating original books since the 1960s. He has written and illustrated more than 100 books and is perhaps best known for his beloved how-to-draw books for kids such as: Ed Emberley’s Big Green Drawing Book, Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Faces, and Ed Emberley’s Great Thumbprint Drawing Book, and many others.
These simple and straightforward books, first published in the 1970s, have encouraged a generation of kids to take the drawing process step by step. Contemporary working artists today often cite Ed Emberley as a beloved early inspiration in their development as artists. By encouraging kids to draw using just a few simple shapes, Emberley has made drawing and creating accessible to everyone. As Emberley likes to say, “Not everyone needs to be an artist, but everyone needs to feel good about themselves.”
This definitive monograph on the wide repertoire of Emberley’s life’s work has been beautifully put together by Todd Oldham and Caleb Neelon. Highlighting work spanning more than five decades, this gorgeous and comprehensive book celebrates the talented and prolific life of Ed Emberley.
Available at Amazon, Ammo Books and your local book shop
Ed Emberley Signed Limited Edition with Print
Cloth hardcover with slipcase
Available at Amazon and Ammo Books
Illustrative Branding: Smashing illustrations for brands
Published by Victionary
From delightful packaging, to tongue-in-cheek restaurant setting guarded by outlandish cartoons or serene naturescapes, all contributes to the whole of the brand experience, some even lure consumers into collecting tactile applications of the brand.ILLUSTRATIVE BRANDING takes you on a beguiling journey through nearly 100 stellar projects and in-depth case studies of illustrated identities conceived for eateries, fashion labels, skincare products, enterprises, and many more.
Available at Victionary and your local book shop.
Edited by Adrian Shaughnessy and Tony Brook / Published by Unit Editions
320 Pages / Paperback
Type Plus investigates the practice of combining typography with images to increase effectiveness, potency and visual impact. Today, graphic designers use type in partnership with graphic elements in ways that turbo charge meaning and impact.
By focusing on a host of contemporary practitioners from around the world, Type Plus creates a picture of a new dynamism in typographic expression. The era of type as a passive, semi-invisible holder of meaning is long gone.Book includes interviews with Non-Format, TwoPoints.Net and Erik Brandt.
Available at Unit Editions
Wim Crouwel: New Alphabet
Edited by Paolo Palma. Preface by Wim Crouwel. Text by Kees Broos, Max Bruinsma, Piet Schrueders.
Published by SHS Publishing
144 Pages / 10″x13.5″
Released in 1967, Wim Crouwel’s New Alphabet was a typeface inspired by the limitations of the data displays of the period. Since it uses only horizontal and vertical strokes, with 45-degree corners–Crouwels wanted to adapt typography to the new technologies, rather than vice versa–New Alphabet contains several characters that are impossible to decipher without contextual inference. Consequently, the typeface was widely deemed to be too extreme at the time, and Crouwel himself qualified it as largely a theoretical exercise–”over the top and never meant to be really used.” Despite its initial controversy, which even extended to the newspapers, New Alphabet has since attained the status of a design classic, being perhaps most famously used on the cover of Joy Division’s legendary single “Atmosphere” and the group’s compilation Substance. In this volume, author Paolo Palma examines the history and legacy of Crouwel’s typeface.
Pre-order at Amazon.com, artbooks.com and your local book shop.
Typorama: The Graphic Work of Philippe Apeloig
By Alice Morgaine and Ellen Lupton/ Edited by Tino Grass / Published by Thames and Hudson
This book, published to accompany a major exhibition at the Musée des Art Décoratifs, Paris, surveys and explores the entirety of Apeloig’s graphic design process and philosophy, reproducing posters, logos, visual identities, books and animations, and analysing the influences that fuel his work.
Available at Amazon, Thames and Hudson and your local book shop
100 Years of Swiss Graphic Design
Edited by Christian Brändle, Karin Gimmi, Barbara Junod, Christina Reble, Bettina Richter, and Museum of Design Zurich
384 Pages / 8.7″x 12.9″
100 Years of Swiss Graphic Design takes a fresh look at Swiss typography and photo-graphics, posters, corporate image design, book design, journalism and typefaces over the past hundred years. With illuminating essays by prominent experts in the field and captivating illustrations, this book, designed by the Zürich studio NORM, presents the diversity of contemporary visual design while also tracing the fine lines of tradition that connect the work of different periods. The changes in generations and paradigms as manifested in their different visual languages and convictions are organized along a timeline as well as by theme.
Available at Amazon, Lars Muller, and your local book shop.
Edited by Tony Brook, Adrian Shaughnessy / Published by Unit Editions
Manuals 2 features a mix of 20 outstanding American and European design manuals. Each is photographed in exquisite detail and accompanied by meticulous descriptions of their physical make-up.
Featured manuals include IBM, Westinghouse, Canadian Rail, Bell, Knoll, PTT, Montreal Olympics and Dutch Police. Manuals 2 also comes up to date, incorporating contemporary manuals for RAC and First Direct. Many of the manuals are designed by the masters of 20th-century identity design: Lester Beall, Paul Rand, Allan Fleming, Total Design, Alan Fletcher, Otl Aicher, Studio Dumbar and North.
Available at Unit Editions
Blue Note : Uncompromising Expression
By Richard Haves / Published by Chronicle Books
400 Pages / 8.5″ x 11 7/8
Published for Blue Note’s seventy-fifth anniversary, this landmark volume is the first official illustrated story of the label, from 1939 roots to its renaissance today. Featuring classic album artwork, unseen contact sheets, rare ephemera from the Blue Note Archives, commentary from some of the biggest names in jazz today, and feature reviews of seventy-five key albums, this is the definitive book on the legendary label.
Available at Amazon, Chronicle Books and your local book shop.
Thoughts on Design
By Paul Rand / Foreword by Michael Beirut / Published by Chronicle Books
96 Pages / 6 7/20 x 7 3/4 in
One of the seminal texts of graphic design, Paul Rand’s Thoughts on Design is now back in print for the first time since the 1970s. Writing at the height of his career, Rand articulated in his slender volume the pioneering vision that all design should seamlessly integrate form and function. This facsimile edition preserves Rand’s original 1947 essay with the adjustments he made to its text and imagery for a revised printing in 1970, and adds only an informative and inspiring new foreword by design luminary Michael Bierut. As relevant today as it was when first published, this classic treatise is an indispensable addition to the library of every designer.
Available at Amazon, Chronicle Books and your local book shop.
Rolf Muller: Stories, Systems, Marks
Edited by Jens Muller / Published by Lars Muller
128 pages / 5 ¾ x 8 ¼ in
This book is the first monograph dedicated to the designer Rolf Müller who is known above all for his design of the visual identity of the Munich Olympic Games in 1972. Shortly after graduating from the famous Ulm School of Design, his former professor Otl Aicher entrusted him with this work, which set new standards in international design. In parallel, he established his design firm Büro Rolf Müller in Munich. On the basis of selected projects, the book attempts to sketch the mentality and methods of his design
Available at Amazon, Lars Muller and your local book shop.
HfG Ulm: Concise History of the Ulm School of Design
Edited by Jens Muller / Published by Lars Muller
128 Pages / 5 ¾ x 8 ¼ in
The Ulm School of Design (HfG Ulm) ranks among the world’s most important institutions of the 20th century in modernist design. Its founders Inge Aicher-Scholl, Otl Aicher and Max Bill wanted to contribute to the shaping of a new and better world after the terrible experiences of the Nazi regime and the Second World War. The meaning of design today cannot be understood without considering the developments at HfG. That applies not only to the design of appliances and communications, but also to the profession of designer, design education, methodology and design theory—ranging from the relationship between design and science up to the question of what relationship design should adopt with art and crafts, or business and society. This massive impact of the HfG is all the more astounding, considering that it existed for only 15 years, from 1953 to 1968. This book provides a contextual and broadly illustrated history of the HfG Ulm.
Available at Amazon, Lars Muller and your local book shop.
Published by Counter-Print
‘Human Logo’ is a collection of people-based logos categorised in sections such as bodies, hands, hearts, eyes and faces. The book contains over 300 logos from some of the world’s leading design companies such as; Wolff Olins, Pushpin Group, Hey, Chermayeff & Geismar, Berger & Föhr and many more.
Available at Counter-Print
By Eric Skillman / Published by Criterion
306 Pages / 10″x13″
The most exciting names in design and illustration today apply their talents to some of the most important and influential films of all time. This volume gathers highlights from designs commissioned by the Criterion Collection, featuring covers, supplemental art, and never-before-seen sketches and concept art plus a gallery of every Criterion cover since the collection’s first laserdisc in 1984. From avant-garde experiments to big-budget blockbusters, cult favorites to the towering classics of world cinema, the depth and breadth of what film can be is on display in these striking images. Whether painstakingly faithful re-creations or bold re-imaginings, the stunningly diverse designs collected here offer new ways for cinephiles and design aficionados alike to engage with the world’s greatest filmmakers.
Available at Amazon, Criterion and your local book shop.
Alex Wollner: Brasil Design Visual
Edited by Klaus Klemp, Julia Koch, Matthias Wagner K. Foreword by Antonio Grassi, Marta Suplicy, Matthias Wagner K. Text by Klaus Klemp, Julia Koch, Malou von Muralt, René Spitz, André Stolarski, Alexandre Wollner.
Published by Wasmuth
324 Pages / 10.5″x10.25″
Alexandre Wollner (born 1928) is one of the most important and successful graphic designers of the second half of the twentieth century. He played a prominent role in the artistic, cultural and economic foundation of postwar Brazilian design and is today one of South America’s most acclaimed figures in graphic design. Upon returning to Brazil from his studies in Europe, together with Geraldo de Barros and others he inaugurated Form-Inform, the first design consultancy in the country. Despite his great influence and popularity in South America, Wollner remains relatively unknown abroad. Alex Wollner: Brasil Design Visual remedies this oversight, presenting an extensive catalogue of the designer’s oeuvre. This handsome book showcases more than 100 works by the artist and focuses on the strong influence of the Ulm School of Design where Wollner studied between 1954 and 1958.
Available at Amazon, Artbooks.com and your local book shop.
Jurriaan Schrofer: Graphic Designer, Pioneer of Photo Books, Art Director, Teacher, Art Manager, Environmental Artist
By Frederike Huygen. Edited by Jaap van Triest, Karel Martens
Published by Valiz
The Dutch designer and polymath Jurriaan Schrofer (1926–1990) was one of the defining figures in European graphic design in the 1950s–70s. Working across all genres, from public relations brochures to interior design, and from magazines to advertising and alphabets, Schrofer is particularly regarded as a pioneer in the field of photo books and experimental typography. During the 1970s, he also became involved with government art policy and environmental art, and was an especially active force at the Association of Graphic Designers. The design historian Frederike Huygen describes his work as “research into perception, visual effects and the optical illusion of perspective: or the interplay of letterform, pattern and meaning.” This monograph tracks Schrofer’s career through a set of thematic chapters: his public relations brochures for various corporations; the photo book designs; his work as a cultural ambassador; advertising design; interior design; art policy and education; typographic experiments; and his art works. This monograph provides a full survey of Schrofer’s career.
Available at Amazon, Artbook.com and your local book shop
Books on Japan 1931-1972
By Yoshiyuki Morioka / Published by BNN
In this book 100 propaganda magazines, published between 1931 to 1972, are introduced. The front cover and middle page of each magazine is introduced by year along with a brief overview. By “propaganda magazines” we mean such magazines promoting political, military and cultural ideas as is represented by the magazines NIPPON (Nihon Kobou) and FRONT (Tohosha). Also included in these 100 magazines is tourist guides, export product catalogues, world fair catalogues and Olympic brochures. In such “propaganda magazines” published by the government or large companies generous budgets were provided for such publications. Accordingly, many persons who have contributed greatly to the history of Japanese photography and graphic design are introduced. (For example in NIPPON such persons as; Yonosuke Natori, Takashi Kono, Fumio Yamana, Yusaku Kamekura, Goro Kumada, Ken Domon and Shihachi Fujimoto. In FRONT such persons as; Tatsuo Hayashi, Hiromu Hara, Seiichi Tagawa, Ihei Kimura, Yoshio Watanabe and Hiroshi Hamaya). As a result, by looking at the graphics in these magazines one can see how the world currents in graphics have been arranged to form a unique Japanese modernism. A look at the news photos and advertisements in these magazines vividly illustrates Japan’s evolution over this time span. The people who lived, the cities that existed and the thoughts that were prevalent at that time are all extensively recorded. Even though time has passed the vitality of these times can still be felt.
Available at Amazon, Stout Books and your local book shop.
Weingart: The Man and the Machine
By Susan Knapp, Michael Eppelheimer, Dorothea Hofmann / Published by Karografik
The Advanced Class (Weiterbildungsklasse) was a post-graduate program for graphic design, first launched in April 1968 at the Basel School of Design in Switzerland. In 1999 the program was removed from the school’s curriculum, as it did not meet the requirements of the new European university system. For over 30 years, more than 420 students from 35 countries refined their skills and developed a network of designers, artists and teachers.
Wolfgang Weingart was one of the reasons why many design students came to study in Basel. He lectured about the program all over the world and his posters became well-known throughout the design community. Allowing his students to unfold in their own way, he proved to be a master in taking so many different individuals and cultures under his wing. Mr. Weingart’s work as a teacher and visiting lecturer has not only strengthened his students as graphic designers, but has also played a decisive role in modern typography and design.
The collection of 77 statements is boldly illustrated with photos of Mr. Weingart, portraits of the individual students and work from his teaching. And for the first time ever published, an essay by Dorothea Hofmann explains how the Advanced Class came into being at the Basel School of Design. The establishment of the program in 1968 was preceded by nearly two decades of continuous refinement of an educational model developed by Armin Hofmann, with support from Emil Ruder and the City of Basel’s Department of Education.
Available at Stout Books and Karografik
Cape Cod Modern: Midcentury Architecture and Community on the Outer Cape
By Peter McMahon, Christine Cipriani and forward by Kenneth Frampton
Photos by Raimund Koch / Published by Metropolis Books
Available at Amazon, Artbook.com and your local book shop
Hand-in-Hand: Ceramics, Mosaics, Tapestries, and Woodcarvings by the California Mid-Century Designers Evelyn and Jerome Ackerman
By Dan Chavkin and Lisa Thackaberry / Published by Pointed Leaf Press
Hand-In-Hand: Ceramics, Mosaics, Tapestries, Woodcarvings by the California Mid-Century Designers Evelyn & Jerome Ackerman is the first monograph of the artists whose oeuvre was critically influential and is now seen as the epitome of California mid-century modernism. With a preface by Jonathan Adler, the book tracks the couple’s careers in the decorative arts from their beginnings to the creation of Jenev Design Studio and its eventual shift to ERA Industries, as well as their involvement in every prestigious California Design exhibition from 1954 to 1976.
Available at Amazon, Pointed Leaf Press and your local book shop.
California Moderne and the Mid-Century Dream – The Architecture of Edward H. Fickett
By Richard Rapaport / Published by Rizzoli
A dazzling presentation of the mid-century modern California style, offering a fresh perspective on the work of this influential yet widely unknown figure.
Available at Amazon and Rizzoli
Who Built that? Modern Houses: An introduction to Modern Houses and their Architects
By Didier Cornille / Published by Princeton Architectural Press
Who Built That? Modern Houses takes readers on a fun-filled tour through ten of the most important houses by the greatest architects of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Beginning with a brief biographical sketch of each architect, illustrator Didier Cornille uses a light touch to depict the various stages of construction, paying special attention to key design innovations and signature details.
Available at Amazon, PA Press and your local book shop.
The Monocle Guide to Good Business
By Monocle / Published by Gestalten
The Monocle Guide to Good Business is a book for would-be business leaders, start-ups, and established companies that feel it’s time for some new ideas. It’s a book made to be used. Write in its margins and turn over the corners of its pages. But don’t expect management speak or miracles for untold riches. This is not a book about staging a revolution. Rather, this is a book about doing things well—from how you run the show to the pens you buy. And even about taking your dog to work.
Available at Amazon, Gestalten and your local book shop
Broken: Navigating the ups and downs of the circus called work
By Nate Burgos and Stephanie Di Biase
This book addresses the challenges of toxic work environments and other barriers to getting things done.
Available at Design Feast
Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will add value to our readers.
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