It can't be just me can it? The Plain English Campaign is a worthy endeavour, championing a cause that should be of interest to all of us that work on "communication" material. So why are their marks so bloody aweful?
I'm not just having a go. It's just that everytime I see one of them, I'm amazed at how out of whack their designs are with the cause the organisation champion and wonder why someone hasn't done something about it. I've seen beautiful, considered, well written material blighted by that ugly little sketch.
I have no problem with the idea, "crystal clear" is spot on; it's just drawn so badly. Surely, if it was a better, more appropriate design, that reflected clarity and precision more effectively, it would only help further the cause.
When I found that British Railways booklet a while back it was really this one that I was interested in, attracted by its cover. As it turned out, the other one was much more interesting inside but the cover of this one uses that classic 50s/60s colour overprint technique.
In essay number four of Michael Bierut's book he talks about having something cool-looking to do when you can't come up with any other solution – sound advice if you ask me. Well, I have to admit that a psuedo-classic 50s/60s colour overprint technique is what I do, that and setting type at a 15° angle. Actually, I love the classic 50s/60s colour overprint technique so much, I sometimes don't even wait to see if I can come up with something else. It looks damn cool and it works.
Now on Flickr, Volume 52 is exeptional. As well as being the edition that comes with that amazing Swissair leaflet, inside you'll find work by Ken Garland, Carlo Vivarelli, a certain Max Miedinger and articles on Ordnance Survey map production and "Advertising in the Atomic Age".
There's a brilliant article called "Management training: the new concept" by Major-General C. Lloyd, specifically about the state of printing education at the time, lavishly illustrated with examples of beautiful typography, illustration and layout, including work from the Central School of Arts and Crafts (when Colin Forbes was Head of Department).
Found this recently (on ebay for a couple of quid) and thought it might reveal an interesting map.
It didn't...well not that interesting.
Still, it doesn't matter because it has other things going for it to compensate. Specifically, and discovered to my great (if sad) delight: the sloping 'tab' system designed to help you identify which quarter of North America you want to look at. It's dead simple of course; the one edge is cut at a slight angle so when it's folded, map-stylee, it creates zip-zagging coloured strips that correspond to the colours in that diagram.