I mentioned a while back that I'm working in a studio that specialises in interpretive design. There aren't really that many specialists in the UK; in Northern Ireland, Tandem is the only one. I'm there for just a while and the specialism is new to me – but I have to say, it's very interesting work.
The discipline of interpretive design is, in itself, interesting and I'll say more about that another time. What's immediately interesting is the material it brings you into contact with – whether by chance or by design (pardon the pun).
We were researching illustrators recently, for a project we might be working on. Can't say much about the actual project but it could be amazing. While I was digging around, I remembered Eyvind Earle.
Artist, author and illustrator, you might know Earle's work for Disney from around the 50s; he worked on background illustrations and styling for things like Sleeping Beauty.
Earle died in 2000 but he left behind a stunning legacy of artwork. You can see lots of it here and watch a revealing autobiographical video. I think it's his serigraphs (screen prints) that are the most remarkable. Astonishing work.
It was ages before I got around to buying Lars Müller's Lufthansa + Graphic Design – edition 05 from their A5 series. And I completely missed edition 06: HfG Ulm. Well, I wasn't going to make the same mistake with edition 07.
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: For nearly four decades, the firm developed corporate identities, books, magazines and signage systems on the highest level. The firm’s projects include the visual identity of the City of Leverkusen, forged over several decades, and the magazine HQ High Quality for the company Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, of which 39 issues were published.
As a storyteller and system designer, Rolf Müller has left his mark on international design history with his work. His stance has had a decisive impact in shaping the way in which today’s communications designers view their profession.
It's as if I planned it. Following up the Avant Garde emblazoned presentation pack with Unit Editions simply marvellous compact version of their Herb Lubalin book. For a while, maybe five or so years back (maybe more) graphic design was all about Herb's most famous fonts, AG and semi-self-titles ITC Lubalin Graph. OK, that's a considerable exaggeration but the two fonts were pretty prominent for a while.
Way back in the mid-seventies it was the same. Good times for the International Type Corporation, co-founded by Lubalin at the beginning of that decade. The distinct thing about ITC was its house style. Even when re-issuing typefaces based on historical models, like Garamond, they imbued the design with a distinctly large x-height. Purists would argue that ITC Garamond is NOT Garamond. Controversial stuff.
The Unit Editions book is great; richly capturing the life and beautiful work of an important figure in typography and graphic design.
I'm immersed in heritage-related projects at the moment. It's really interesting. The studio I'm working in has two "interpretive planners", who know tons of history and that. They're fascinating. It's all quite different to what I'm used to but refreshingly so. Lots of challenges; I'm covering for a super-talented creative with a real passion for history – formidable shoes to fill. Anyway, I was reminded of this, from when I was…oooh, about knee high.
It was during this year that SAVE Britain's Heritage was created, "the most influential conservation group to have been established since William Morris founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Beards", or something.
I think (think) that's me at the top. It's definitely my brother and my Gran. It could be a cousin but it makes sense that it's me. My brother again below, parking the van, just after my Dad jumped out, "Park the van son" (Dad couldn't drive).
I have a feeling that's my Gran and Grandad in the Herald coming off the ferry. Have no idea where they were going to or coming from. Partly because I wasn't born when these photos were taken and partly because even if I had been, I'd have been too young to remember.
I doubt you really want to hear any of this…But for the record, below you'll see my Mum, Dad and brother with Dad's Uncle Cyril and Aunty Vi – clearly before I was born again. Cyril and Vi were lovely; I have really warm, if somewhat distant, memories of visiting them in Sherborne St John, near Basingstoke (once I got being born out of the way). There was nothing in Sherborne St John except a Post Office. I think (once I'd got a bit of growing done) I was allowed to buy a Topic from there. The main thing I remember though is Great Aunty Vi; she had this amazing Hampshire accent.
I am very proud of the fact that I introduced her to the beef burger.
One of the really nice things I did when I was back at my Mum's, a couple of weeks ago, was to go through her slides. I was looking for photos of Dad – which I found – but I found some other great stuff too. No slide scanner to hand so I, rather crudely, used my digital compact and this Jumbo 22. The results are coming up next.