A Designer’s Art by Paul Rand

Poster based on Rand's cover for Direction magazine, 1939

Paul Rand is a little gap on my bookshelf. Princeton Architectural Press’ recent reprint of his 1985 monograph A Designer's Art (complete with obligatory afterword by Steven Heller) pretty much lives on my desk these days. Over 27 essays, he discusses a wide range of subjects still pertinent to design today, all accompanied by numerous examples of his work (more of which can be found at paul-rand.com). Demonstrating Rand's ability to simplify shape and colour and space into the most striking form, it's surprising how contemporary much of it seems – there are posters and covers and identities in here from seventy years ago that could've been made yesterday. One gripe: given Rand’s distinctive use of colour, it’s a shame that some of the images are black and white. Still, it's a stunning collection and offers a valuable education from one of design's greatest teachers; open it on any page and there's something that will spark inspiration. An essential read for designers, artists and everything in-between.

A Designer’s Art, 1985

Minute Man National Historic Park poster, 1974

Dada poster, 1951

The International Design Conference in Aspen poster, 1966

IBM poster, 1981

AIGA poster, 1968

Yale University School of Art poster, 1988

Leonardo da Vinci exhibition catalogue, 1970

Westinghouse Annual Report, 1974

New work: James Joyce

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A particularly fun element of last year's Wolpe Collection launch was the opportunity to redesign some classic Faber & Faber jackets using the new versions of Berthold Wolpe’s typefaces. I spent way too long mulling over whether or not this one needed an eyepatch over the O, but in the end I just let the Albertus Nova curly bracket do all the work. 

New work: The Wolpe Collection

One of my favourite projects from last year: art directing the launch of Monotype’s revived typeface family The Wolpe Collection, working alongside type designer Toshi Omagari and writer Michael Evamy. As well as various bits and pieces of marketing material, the launch involved an exhibition of Berthold Wolpe’s work at the Type Archive. Check out the video below for a nice overview of the show.

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Masqualero

This week Monotype launch Masqualero, the new typeface designed by Jim Ford. He can explain the design a lot better than I can, but in summary, it exists at the stonecutting/jazz intersection that you never knew existed. Art directing the launch, I've been able to play with Masqualero and its various weights/styles well before anyone else gets their grubby mitts on it, and I can attest that it is quite, quite wonderful (especially for concocting identities, covers, sleeves and stationery for entirely imaginary clients, it turns out). I'm excited to see where and how it turns up in the next few months, now that it's out there for everyone else to enjoy. 

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Type found on Flickr

I seem to be spending an awful lot of time wading through the Flickr Commons at the moment, looking to repurpose forgotten, obscure and wonderful images on new book covers. And oh my, what a treasure trove it is! A simple one-word search can bring all sorts of wonderments to the surface, even if they have very little to do with what you're looking for (this selection here were the result of a search for "theatre").

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