Talking of purely decorative patterns, these are fantastic. Although I've often hesitated to buy them (not sure quite why) I've seen quite a few Penguin music scores that follow the same design principle as the Poetry series but applied to a near A5 landscape format. I'm sure I've even seen the same patterns applied to both.
This is one of my favourite Stephen Russ covers; it's not just a nice pattern it's an idea. I think that's what, often, makes his covers stand out from others in the series, even those patterns for Comic and Curious Verse and More Comic and Curious Verse are "idea-based", i.e. they reflect the genre rather than are purely decorative like the Matthew Arnold book.
Special "thanks for the support" to Lena Corwin for including a link to Ace Jet 170 on her blog, I've had lots of reffered hits since.
Read on Noisy Decent Graphic yesterday the very sad news that Alan Fletcher died last week. He was brilliant; like the grandaddy of British Graphic Design. So up into the loft to dig out my copy of his book The Art of Looking Sideway (the loft is no place for this ace book but we've got the builders in and only half our house is habitable so it's the safest place for it).
The book is like Fletcher's scrap book; packed full of bits of type, art, found objects, collage, paintings, lots of words, snippets, fragments, very clever stuff, funny dumb stuff. To be honest, I can't do it or the man justice here so if you would like to know more I'd recommend you get his book here or read about him here.
By odd coincidence, an exhibition of his work was already due to be seen at the Design Museum in London.
Earlier in the week I was very excited to get a comment from Stephen Russ's grandson Adam who has very kindly emailed me a scan of one of the many unbound copies that he has. I'll post what he's sent next week.
I think the hand held sewing machine is a contraption that belongs alongside the salad spinner and the hostess trolley as a seemingly great idea that just doesn't work in reality. Which explains why you see so many of these things at car boot sales and in junk shops. Now I'm always on the lookout for something that I might use for work; something that could trigger an idea or might help me realise a concept, so when I found this I thought if only I'd had that when I wanted to sew pages together for a direct mail piece aimed at the fashion industry. Of course, since buying it (for buttons - pardon the pun) I've had absolutely no use for it. Still, what a great looking object; from the green enamel paintwork on the outer casing and stainless steel mechanisim to the pack design and that odd little sticker with the Indian lettering on.
I'm a sucker for an untidy cloth binding but once I'd lifted this off a shelf in the LOROS bookshop I'd occasionally visit during my lunch hour I was overjoyed to discover the book's subject matter, not to mention it's £5 price tag.
Published in 1966 by Studio Vista and including a preface by Paul Rand, this large format, beautifully printed book is a who's who of graphic designers of the time: Otl Aicher, Saul Bass, Lester Beall, Max Bill, Robert Brownjohn, Ivan Chermayeff, Wim Crouwel, Karl Gerstner, Max Huber; the list goes on and on. 290 pages of inspiring work, many simply printed in black on the publication's ivory paper stock, and many that wouldn't look out of place today.