graphic design

Beech woods in Buckinghamshire


The American born McKnight Kauffer was the most celebrated poster artist working in Britain in the inter-war years. Although renowned for his stylized modernist posters he was also capable of showing a light touch when portraying rural scenes in his printed work. This poster, one of a pair of woodland landscapes, was produced for his major client, London Transport—the company logo, the ‘roundel’, can just be made out at the lower right of the image. These two posters were displayed in close proximity to one another outside entrances to Underground stations.
E. McKnight Kauffer, London Transport, graphic design, poster, landscape, World War II

Graphic Diplomacy


On the occasion of the United Nations meetings in New York City this week (September 23 - September 27, 2013) a series of prints by the Dutch firm Catalogtree are humorously relevant. For this project, the principals, Joris Maltha and Daniel Gross, tracked down the raw data (who, where, when) concerning parking violations by United Nations diplomats, over the period from 1997-2007, and converted the data into a series of different mapping formats that they entitled “Flocking Diplomats,” or did they mean “Flogging” Diplomats?
Catalogtree, Joris Maltha, Daniel Gross, Werkplaats Typografie, graphic design, United Nations, diplomats, cars, parking

Alphabet


When do graphic design and textile design merge and overlap? The great mid-century designer Alexander Girard is best known for his work as founding director of the Herman Miller Textile Division, a post he held from 1952 through 1973. There, working alongside such design legends as George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames, he created a vast range of textiles that complemented and completed the era’s groundbreaking furnishings. Although nubby textures and neutral stripes abound in Girard’s textile oeuvre, his most memorable designs are distinctly graphic in character.
alphabet, graphic design, textile design, Alexander Hayden Girard, Herman Miller Inc.

A Heart in the Right Place


It is difficult to imagine that something as ubiquitous as the I Love New York logo was designed completely for free. But that is exactly what graphic designer Milton Glaser did in 1976 when he created his first simple sketch with red crayon on the back of an envelope for the New York Chamber of Commerce. The final logo, set in a rounded slab serif font aptly named American Typewriter, would ultimately become one of the most internationally recognizable icons.
Milton Glaser, poster, graphic design, New York, National Design Award, American Typewriter, logo

Petticoats in the Navy


When 20-year old Bernice Smith Tongate walked into a California Navy recruiting office in 1917, and proclaimed “Gee, I wish I were a man, I’d join the Navy!,” I’m sure she was blissfully unaware of the impact she was about to have on the American Navy and women’s equality.
Howard Chandler Christy, United States Navy, graphic design, poster, Bernice Smith Tongate, national pride

A Richly Fabled Romance


The marriage between art and music has always been a richly fabled romance.  In the modern era, graphic designers have had a particular knack for fusing these two mediums by imbibing their personal passion for music into their work.  Consider for instance Reid Miles typographic album covers for the jazz label Blue Note in the 1950s or Wes Wilson’s psychedelic concert posters for Bill Graham presents in the 1960s. Each designer’s individual taste helped signify the way we see music.
Niklaus Troxler, graphic design, jazz, music, poster, Wes Wilson, Reid Miles, Ellery Eskelin Trio, circles, dots

Ribbons in the Sky


With its dancing roll of printing ribbon, diving between a checkerboard game of multi-colored squares and symbols, this ad for Olivetti’s Divisumma adding machine makes simple mathematics look like anything but just another day at the office.
Hebert Bayer, Olivetti, advertising, poster, offset lithography, graphic design

An emblem of Dutch diversity


With its overlapping pattern of abstracted florals and its animated orange circular motif, this exhibition poster designed by artist Johan Thorn Prikker (b.1868-1932) is a true icon of the Nieuwe Kunst (Art Nouveau) style in Holland.  Created for an exhibition of Dutch art at the Kaiser-Wilhelm museum in Krefeld, Germany, Thorn Prikker employed several signifiers of Dutch nationalism to advertise the event, most notably the orange (for the House of Orange-Nassau), the tulip, and Indonesian batik.
Johan Thorn Prikker, textile design, graphic design, poster, batik, Dutch stained glass, Art Nouveau

Less Ziggy, More Stardust


There are many ways to celebrate an anniversary.  To commemorate a decade of working together as the design duo Non-Format, Kjell Ekhorn and Jon Forss did not opt for the traditional gifting of tin, pewter, or aluminum.  Instead, they pooled their creative energies towards a personal project that drew upon their shared love of David Bowie. 
Non-Format, poster, graphic design, David Bowie, Brian Eno, axis thinking, music

River Glimmered


“Dreams and restless thoughts came flowing to him from the river… When Siddhartha awoke, the pale river shimmered past the door…The broad sheet of water glimmered pink in the light of the morning…’Yes’, said the ferryman, ‘it is a very beautiful river…I have often listened to it, gazed at it... One can learn much from a river’.”[1]
Alvin Lustig, Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha, graphic design, books, book covers

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