London College of Communication has launched a trio of exhibitions as part of this year’s London Design Festival, showcasing 50 years of illustration, 100 years of graphic design and ten years of button badges.
The exhibitions are open at LCC until late October and include a look at a new Laurence King book on illustration, a collection of 1000 badges from Stereohype and an exhibition celebrating poster designers Tom Eckersley, Abram Games, FHK Henrion, Josef Müller-Brockmann and Paul Rand.
50 Years of Illustration
In the college's Upper Street Gallery, 50 Years of Illustration presents extracts from a new book of the same name by Professor Lawrence Zeegen, Dean of LCC's School of Design, and Grafik founder Caroline Roberts. Published on October 1, it charts developments in illustration from the 1960s to 2010 and showcases iconic artwork from each decade alongside essays on the social and political factors influencing illustrators at the time.
The show is divided into five sections (one for each decade) and each display features an introductory essay on the period alongside spreads from the book and key work reproduced in large-scale prints.
The 60s includes work by Klaus Voormann, Pushpin Studios, Maurice Sendak and Heinz Edelmann and comments on the expressive nature of image-making at the time, the influence of hallucinogenic drugs and political reform on popular culture and the influence of Victorian typography and art nouveau in illustrations from the period:
The 70s focuses on punk culture and a DIY aesthetic, with work from Roger Dean, Ian Beck, Alan Aldridge, Raymond Briggs and Philip Castle, while featured illustrators from the 80s include Barney Bubbles, Huntley Muir, Hunt Emerson, Patrick Nagel and Marshall Arisman (creator of the cover image for Breat Easton Ellis novel American Psycho).
The 90s and 00s sections highlight the explosion of digital media and the introduction of a new digital aesthetic. Kate Gibb, Shephard Fairey, Jasper Goodall, Marion Deuchars and papercut artist Rob Ryan are among those featured. It's not a comprehensive overview of the history of illustration - as Zeegen points out, the book and show is "a mere slice of the discipline's rich heritage" - but it does provide a look at some of the most influential and widely recognised book jackets, album art and posters in modern history, and illustration's relationship with popular culture.
100 years of graphic design
Elsewhere in the college, Alan Kitching and Monotype: Celebrating the centenary of five pioneers of the poster commemmorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Abram Games, FHK Henrion, Josef Müller-Brockmann, Paul Rand and Tom Eckersley (Eckersley set up the school of graphic design at the London School of Printing, now LCC).
The show was curated and designed by Daniel Chehade and features some of the designers' best-known posters, from Eckersley's 'Cyclists, keep them clean' and Victoria line designs to Games' work for London Transport.
It also includes video interviews with Games, Eckersley and Henrion, in which the designers reflect on their craft and perceptions of graphic design, specimen books from Monotype's archives for fonts used by the designers, including Futura and Rockwell, and spreads from textbooks and issues of Graphis which feature articles on their work.
Alongside this is a look at the making of a series of screen prints commemorating each designer, which were commissioned by Monotype and designed by Alan Kitching and Chehade.
Originally exhibited in Monotype's Century exhibition, held in New York to mark AIGA's centenary, each screenprint features a monogram for that designer, made up of overlapping letters - in each case, one from Monotype's archives and a wood letter from Kitching's workshop.
The finished prints are beautifully produced, and hang alongside the designers' posters in the gallery. A short film explains the making of the project and offers a look at the printing process, while wood letters, inks and sketches are housed in glass display cases. It's a fascinating look at printing and a stunning selection of historic posters.
The third event on show at LCC celebrates the tenth anniversary of graphic art label Stereohype, founded by design studio FL@33. The label runs an annual button badge design competition each year and regularly invites designers to create badges for its By Invitation Only range. Over one thousand button badges are featured in the exhibition - some fixed to the gallery walls, others in glass display cases and a framed artwork (close up below).
To celebrate the exhibition and its anniversary, Stereohype commissioned ten designers and artists to create a badge and letterpress poster inspired by the number 10 and/or 1000, or 10x10, all of which are on show at the gallery alongside a 10 foot squirrel sculpture, below. Contributing creatives include Kitching, Build's Michael Place, Daniel Eatock, Genevieve Gauckler, Vaughan Oliver, TwoPoints and FL@33 co-founder Agathe Jacquillat. Ten giclee prints of each poster are on sale priced at £350 each, excluding Kitching's which is available as a letterpress poster (also in an edition of 10) for £750.
Visitors to the show can also design and submit their own button badges at the show - and a catalogue featuring every button badge designed is available to purchase at the event (cover and spreads shown below).
50 Years of Illustration and Stereohype 2004-2014 are on show at London College of Communication SE1 6SB until October 31. Alan Kitching and Monotype: Celebrating the Centenary of Five Pioneers of the Poster is open until October 16. For details, see events.arts.ac.uk
50 Years of Illustration is published by Laurence King on October 1 and costs £30. To order a copy, click here.
The Folio Society has released a new version of Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange, which features a newly commissioned introduction by Irvine Welsh and some exquisite illustrations by Ben Jones...
The book is published in hardback and comes in a slipcase. There are seven illustrations by Jones spread throughout, and he has also designed the cover, an embossed image of a man in a bowler hat.
The bowler hat became an iconic symbol for the book after Stanley Kubrick's 1971 movie pictured central character Alex DeLarge and his droogs wearing the hats alongside white overalls. Jones sees its inclusion here as a tribute to Kubrick's film, and its importance to the novel. "I do think that Kubrick is a big part of the book becoming immortal," he says in an interview filmed by the publishers, shown below.
Despite this, Jones tried to avoid Kubrick's imagery elsewhere in his illustrations for the book. "'I purposely stopped myself from watching the film while I was working on the job," he says, "mainly because I wanted to get away from Kubrick's iconic visual style, and develop my own take on the book, and stay true to Burgess's vision."
Jones used collage to bring Burgess's bleak, dystopian world to life in his illustrations. "I like the idea of collage, that you can take something that's existing, and turn it into something completely new," he says.
The Folio Society's edition of A Clockwork Orange works from the restored version of the text, first published in 2012, and includes the once-banned 21st chapter, as well as an expanded glossary, compiled with reference to Burgess’s handwritten notes and letters to his editors. It is available for £29.95 and can be bought directly from the publishers here.
It won’t be exactly like the original manual. The original is ring bound in binder, but the reissue will feature a cloth hardcover and unaltered high-resolution scans of each page of the manual, all Smyth sewn together. It will measure 13.5” W × 13.5″ H (343 x 343 mm).There will be an introduction by Michael Bierut, and an essay by New York magazine writer Christopher Bonanos.
The manual will be printed in Italy on 100 and 140 gsm Munken Pure ivory offset paper. The cover, introduction, and essay headings will be set in a custom version of Standard Medium by type designer Nick Sherman, that he recreated from the photographs of the original manual.
This is a great way to get this wonderful piece of design history in the hands of more people. I’ve backed it.
Six of author Jeanette Winterson's novels are published today in new editions from Vintage, featuring some bold cover art work by the publisher's senior designer, James Jones...
From Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Winterson's 1985 debut, the new editions also include her novels The Passion (1987), Sexing the Cherry (1989), Written on the Body (1992), Art and Lies (1994) and The Power Book (2000).
Jones says that his initial thoughts on the design of the set involved taking a photographic approach. "Quite simple and graphic – [but] I couldn't find any images that were bold enough to carry Jeanette's world," he says. "This quickly progressed to purely typographic covers before I began introducing some hand-drawn illustrations.
"The Sexing the Cherry cover [above, right] was the catalyst for the final series look, with the pineapple helping to set the tone. From here, myself and the editor chatted about other image ideas that would portray each book in the series, and allow them to work strongly on their own as well as part of a set."
The final illustrations for the covers were created in-house by Jones.
P22 Underground, derived from Edward Johnston's 1916 sans serif for the London Underground, was selected as the cover typeface early on in the process, Jones explains. "I knew the images I wanted to create would be fairly vibrant and somewhat surreal in their finished outcome, so a much cleaner sans serif typeface was needed to compliment them," he says.
"Any hand-written type would have detracted too much from the images. The illustrations began life as simple line drawings, but they lacked the flair and imagination that Jeanette brings to her writing."
In an approach that differs from the artwork on much of Winterson's work to date, Jones decided to pursue a heavily digitised look, rendering images of various organic forms in clean lines and brushed colours.
Detail from the cover of The Power Book
"I began playing around with the illustrations as vectors – as I wanted that really digital look to set them apart – and it was at this point that they resembled Jeanette's writing the most," says Jones.
"Her writing is like no one else's: passionate, punchy, lucid and lyrical, and each cover aims to represent a tiny bit of this to the reader. The clash between organic materials/objects and something a bit sleeker helps portray the sexual nature of some of the subject matter and its surreal tones."
Don't forget the September issue of CR - our grad guide - is also available for iPad, where you'll find print mag content and monograph plus exclusive additional content in Hi Res, our showcase gallery section, and CRTV, with video profiles of creative people, animations and other moving image work from around the world....
In Features we talk to six people in unusual and inspiring jobs in the creative industries to see just where a creative education can take you, including Gemma Jackson, production designer on Game of Thrones; Blair Battison, senior preservation conservator at the Victoria & Albert Museum; Rachel Louis, arts participation manager at Vital Arts; Brad Silby, Framestore lead animator on films such as Where the Wild Things Are and Guardians of the Galaxy; and Simon Henwood, creative director for musicians such as Kanye West and Rihanna.
Creative studio Shellsuit Zombie also give us their top ten tips for next steps for graduates looking to pursue a creative career.
Plus the true story of the Woolmark, with en extract from TM, a new book looking at the history of 29 classic logos by CR's Mark Sinclair; and Grey ECD Nils Leonard and William Fowler, Headspace creative director and CR-columnist Googlechat about the trend for advertising with a social conscience.
There's also reviews of Recontres D'Ares photography festival and a new exhibition of Ivan Chermayeff's collage work. And not forgetting our lovely regular columns from Michael Evamy, Daniel Benneworth-Gray and Paul Belford.
In Hi Res you'll find work from iconic fashion photographer Horst P. Horst ahead of a major new retrospective at the V&A; music-related posters from Print Club London's Blisters: Sound Sessions show; Martin Usbourne's photo series I've Lived in East London For 86 ½ Years; a peak at Illustation Now! 5 from Taschen; images from a new publication on contemporary photography and architecture, Shooting Space; rare and famous urban art from Hang-Up Collections; and a close up look at the making of Jim Lambie's concrete 100m long path, designed to look like a shelf of records.
CRTV includes Jeremy Asher Lynch's short documentary Church of Type about a Santa Monica letterpress studio; a profile of Tel Aviv based illustrator Geffen Refaeli; Monotype's Dan Rhatigan on Rhyman Eco; a look at the touring Open for Business photo project seeking to tell the largely untold story of British manufacturing; and new animations from Masanodu Hiraoka and 3D artist Ben Ridgway.
Jonathan Ellery's latest publication sees the designer and artist tackle some big themes over five short books – but what's the connection between garden birds, politics and sexual deviance in the church?
The five volumes have straightforward enough titles – Religious Symbols, London Garden Birds, Numbers, Sexual Predators and Political Symbols – and in each the contents is shown with minimal design intervention.
In the politics volume, for example, there are the logos of several political parties, such as the Christian Democratic Union, the US Republican party and the illustrated symbol for the Black Panther movement.
In Religious Symbols the cross of Saint Peter (an inverted Latin cross often considered an anti-Christian symbol) appears alongside a Buddhist lotus flower, the Mormons sit next the Satanists, and the book ends with the Westboro Baptist Church's most infamous message of hate.
Two of the books feature photographs: beautiful ones of London Garden Birds in one volume, and Reuters/PA shots of various priests and bishops who complete the Sexual Predators edition. It's a strange mix, to say the least.
But as in much of Ellery's art work that he makes outside of the design studio, there is usually connective tissue between seemingly separate things. Here, the links are perhaps more subtle. Is the set a comment on the faith we attach to symbols and rituals, or that we place in things that embody our beliefs?
Symbols are graphic simplifications of much bigger things. Here, the green volume simply ticks through numbers 1-13. They're just numbers, of course, but for some these, too, can become powerful symbols of both good and bad luck.
Published by Browns Editions, the set comes as a signed edition of 150 (£100). Each 40-page book is accompanied by a screen-printed coloured gel designed by Ellery. The set will launch at Printed Matter in New York on September 20 and will also be available at the New York Art Book Fair the following week (September 26-28). More at printedmatter.org and brownseditions.com.
One of Angus' tile murals for Heathrow airport, 1955
A new show on the work of artist and designer Peggy Angus (1904-93) at Towner in Eastbourne is an exhibition of the woman as much as the work. Full of her prints, patterns, posters and tile designs, it also reveals how her home in East Sussex became a creative hub for many artists...
Anecdotes about Angus' fiery personality are dotted throughout the two large gallery spaces at Towner, in the form of audio and video interviews.
She emerges as a designer whose creative practice fuelled her life and enabled her to bring together many celebrated artists and architects of her time – such as Eric Ravilious and John Piper – at her Furlongs home in East Sussex.
Furlongs, Angus' home in East Sussex. Image from author James Russell's post about his new book on the designer's work, Peggy Angus: Designer, Teacher, Painter (£25), available from the Antique Collectors' Club, here
Angus had befriended Ravilious and Edward Bawden at the Royal College of Art where she studied in the School of Art, and later Design, with the assistance of a scholarship that specified that she was to gain a teaching diploma.
Though not her career of choice, Angus appears to have been a great inspiration to students at North London Collegiate School in Muswell Hill (see comments from former students on the Guardian's review of the show here) and had very strong opinions about the manner in which art should be taught.
Wallpaper design by Angus
Tile design by Angus
One aspect of Angus's practice was designing tiles cut from lino, which grew out of her making potato prints with her students at NLCS, some of which are displayed at Towner (there are repeat patterns by students Jean Craighead, Margaret Smith and Marina Dunbar).
These prints caught the attention of the architect FRS Yorke who then commissioned Angus to design a mural for the Lansbury Lawrence Primary School in Tower Hamlets.
Tile mural for Brussels World Fair, 1958
Other London locations that once displayed Angus' work include both Heathrow (c.1955) and Gatwick airports, but her designs also featured in primary schools in Wimbledon and Hemel Hempstead, the Glyndŵr University in Wales and at the Brussels World Fair (1958).
Sadly, most of her large-scale tile murals have been lost to refurbishments or demolition, but they are represented in the exhibition as photographs.
Tile mural at Glyndŵr University, Wrexham, Wales
In addition, the exhibition showcases several of her paintings, displayed in their original – somewhat-weathered – frames that sit side by side with watercolours by Eric Ravilious.
They show their shared inspirations – places like the Asham Cement Works – as well as their close friendship.
Ravilious' works 'Furlongs' and 'Interior, Furlongs' (both 1934) are appropriately displayed next to Angus' 'Eric Ravilious and Helen Binyon at Furlongs' and 'Angus and Victoria at Breakfast in Furlongs' (1945).
Angus' painting Asham Cement Works, oil on canvas, 1934
Angus's weekend home in the Furlongs is presented as a kind of creative hub, where visitors were expected to participate and enrich the environment, even adding to the interiors. As an avid letter writer and lover of paper, photographs show how the house, however modest, was touched by art, with items as insignificant as cereal boxes covered in her wallpaper designs, stuffed with copies of correspondence.
In Furlongs, Angus appears to have been in her prime, telling embellished stories and filling the house with laughter.
Furlongs, Angus' home in East Sussex
Also on display are the wallpaper designs that post-dated the tile designs, as they became less fashionable, and a selection of posters for exhibitions showcasing the work produced at her People's Creative Workshop in Camden that made art and design accessible to the elderly local community.
Angus, while Chilean born and London bred, is claimed by the gallery as a local artist for the contribution she made to the area. The Towner exhibition is a celebration of a designer, teacher and painter who has largely been forgotten and rightly attempts to position her among the greats of her time.
Artist Grayson Perry has released a book based on his BBC4 Reith Lecture series, Playing to the Gallery, which aims to demistify contemporary art and prove that "anybody can enjoy it." An entertaining and light-hearted read, it also contains a new series of witty drawings...
Playing to the Gallery is divided into four chapters, with each addressing a basic question about the art world, from 'What counts as art?' to 'How do you become a contemporary artist?' Perry says the book aims to answer the basic questions that many people think of while in a gallery, but are often too embarrassed to ask.
"[People] might think they're irrelevant ... or that everybody already knows the answer. But I don't think that's true. The art world needs people to keep asking it questions, and thinking about those questions helps the enjoyment and understanding of art," he writes.
The first section, Democracy Has Bad Taste, explains the process of validation that leads to an artist's work being exhibited in major galleries, and the role of critics, curators, dealers, buyers and the public in shaping an artist's reputation.
The next chapter, Beating the Bounds, considers how to determine what is and isn't art: "We're in a state where anything goes. But there are still boundaries about what can and cannot be art; the limits are just softer and fuzzier," explains Perry. He presents a series of pointers which can be used to test whether something is really art, from who it's made by and the context in which it is shown, to what he calls "the handbag and hipster test."
"Quite often you can't tell if something is a work of art apart from the fact that people are standing around and looking at it. If there are lots of people with beards and glasses and single-speed bikes, or oligarchs' wives with great big handbags looking a bit perturbed and puzzled by what they're staring at, then it's probably art," he says.
In Nice Rebellion, Welcome In! Perry considers whether art is still capable of shocking us, arguing that while it can still be inventive and surprising, contemporary art is incapable of shocking in the same way as Roy Lichtenstein's graphic paintings or Marcel Duchamp's urinal. "Anything can be art now ... the idea of an artwork falling outside the boundaries of what art can be isn't going to happen anymore," he says.
The final chapter outlines the process of becoming a contemporary artist, and includes Perry's reflections on experimenting with pottery aged nine, deciding to become an artist aged 16 and studying at Portsmouth Polytechnic.
While he admits that going to art school is (in most cases) unlikely to lead to a life of riches, Perry also makes a strong case for doing so. "Of course people can become artists without going to art college - but it's very difficult, if not impossible, to make a career as an artist if you haven't gone to college," he says, praising art schools for offering a valuable refuge where students are encouraged to experiment, fail and learn from their mistakes.
The book is littered with personal anecdotes and contains some wise advice for aspiring artists - Perry encourages them to take any opportunity that comes along, and not be deterred or embark on a radical change of direction if their early work is compared to someone else's. "Originality takes time. Carving out a career takes time," he adds.
Perry also pokes fun at the pretensions of the art world and contradictions within it, from the unecessary complexity of "International Art English" often used to describe pieces, to the growing commodification of the art world, despite its continued desire to be seen as rebellious and firmly anti-establishment.
Playing to the Gallery is an accessible, enjoyable read for anyone who is keen to learn more about art but perhaps feels a little intimidated by the subject. It's also a fond reflection on 30 years of working in the industry - for all his jokes, Perry says the book is "in some ways, a love letter to the art world."
"If I have been teasing (bullying it) it is because I know the art world can take it, in fact it encourages it. None of my jibes stop the great art being awesomely beautiful," he writes.
Playing to the Gallery is published on September 4 by Particular Books and costs £14.99. To order a copy click here.
From a supplement to Morgan Press' Wood Type Catalog, 1960s
The Newberry Library's archive of printing history has been documented online since June this year, featuring everything from type specimens and catalogues, to posters and direct mail. It's also accompanied by some astute commentary, making it one of the most interesting print and type blogs around...
Founded in 1887 The Newberry is an independent research library in Chicago which offers its readers an extensive collection of "rare books, maps, music, manuscripts, and other printed material spanning six centuries."
The site is part of a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) funded project called Printing Specimens (1605-present) at the Newberry Library, an initiative which aims to shed light on the institutions "hidden collection" of type and printing material "both beautiful and homely, of all periods."
From a supplement to Morgan Press' Wood Type Catalog, 1960s
From Établissements Nicolas Liste de Grands Vins (1950), printed by Draeger Frères, with illustrations by R. Harada
From a catalogue from Bauer Type Foundry and Bauersche Giesserei advertising Bernhard Brushscript and Bernhard Cursive, designed by Lucian Bernhard
"This is a two and a half year project to catalog and process over 29,800 items that are part of the Newberry's John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing," the site explains.
"The Wing collection is one of the world's oldest and largest specialised collections on book arts and printing history. This project will provide access to a large assemblage of primary source materials dating from 1605 to the present, both books and ephemera, which serve as specimens of printing at every period."
Tempo Light and Bold (1931), another take on the Tempo typeface from Ludlow
Illustration of the four-colour printing process from Advertising Production: A Manual on the Mechanics of Newspaper Printing (1946) by Ben Dalgin
A Few Suggestions for Ornamental Decoration: a Collection of Designs & Colour Schemes for Painters' & Decorators' Work (1908) contains not only suggestions for decorative work, but samples of Thos. Parsons & Sons tints, paints, and varnishes
L'Art de Boire: Préparer, Servir, Boire (1927) written by Louis Forest, illustrated by Charles Martin, and published by our Établissements Nicolas as part of their Monseigneur le Vin series. Full series is here The CLIR Cataloging and Hidden Special Collections and Archives program is made possible through funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.