Posts Tagged ‘Paul Rand’

Design | Logos Unlimited

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

1967 poster for Italian car manufacturer Fiat. Changes of colour and configuration give the various brands and models their unique identity.
© Armin Vogt / Reiwald Werbegentur for Fiat



Logo Modernism
By Jens Müller + R Roger Remington
Published by Taschen
Hardcover + jacket
432 pp, multilingual edition in
English / German / French.
Available now




6000 logos explore the distillation of modernism in graphic design



Not so amazing, I suppose, as finding a Charles Eames chair in a skip, I picked up a compact, concise book in used but good condition, jam-packed with logos, symbols and signs, off the top of an overflowing litter bin at the offices of a magazine I was working in Germany in 2001. It’s a little gem, called Zeichen + Signets / Signs + Emblems, originally published in 1982 by Bruckmann München in association with the famous design bible Novum Gebrauchsgraphik, (copies can be found online for around €12). Many of the same logos also appear in Taschen’s great big – soon to be even bigger, when the XL version comes out – new tome of a book, Logo Modernism, which covers the period from around 1940 to 1980, ie, from when ‘modernism in graphic design really began to take hold’ and before the post-modern era began. Amongst the 6000 logos included – almost every one credited and dated – some examples from the 1990s that share the same or a similar spirit are also shown.

Cleanly and simply laid out, in black on white cartridge paper with generous margins, the designs grouped into those based upon squares, dots, lines or crosses, and so on, with seemingly limitless permutations of approach, limited only by their method of production and with an eye to how they might be used in the limited variety of media available at the time, share a certain unity that contemporary computer-aided branding designers, often producing work intended for a much broader range of uses, find it neither useful, nor necessary to adhere to.

Massimo Vignelli’s, 1967, simple and striking
visual identity for American Airways
© Massimo Vignelli for American Airlines



Case studies such as Armin Vogt’s 1968 Fiat logo that continued to be used, albeit with modifications, until 1999, and FHK Henrion’s 1969 LEB (London Electricity Board) revamp, over a spread, or up to six or eight pages, act as breakers at irregular intervals throughout the book, and show how simple designs could be adapted to create distinctive visual identities.

Each of the studies has a useful potted history of the designer, while towards the back of the book there’s an extended, illustrated profile section on several leading designers of the period, including Adrian Frutiger and Paul Rand, describing and demonstrating via examples of their work, the consistent approach each adopted or developed over the course of their careers.

Almost limitless as a logo archive for the period, Taschen’s Logo Modernism means business about the business of good design.

All images courtesy Taschen


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The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, and anything else that currently interests us that we think might interest you.

The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier



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Design | Modernist Posters

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Paul Rand,
Minute Man, 1974
Estimate $1,000 > $1,500



Modernist Posters
Swann Auction Galleries
New York City | USA
Exhibition May 2, 4, 5, 6, 7
Sale 7 May 2015
13.30 EST / 18.30 GMT



Pentagram,
AIA New York
Group of ten posters,
1990s > 2000s
Estimate $2,000 > $3,000



Richard Avedon,
The Beatles
One of four posters
and a banner, 1967
Estimate $2,000 > $3,000



If you punch ‘American posters’ into Google search, and click the Images option, page upon page of disordered, unsifted stuff will come up. There’ll be a few great designs you recognise instantly. Just a few. Much of it will be mediocre. A lot of it will be rubbish. You’ll wonder what some of it is doing there. If you refine your search and put in, say, ‘American film posters’, the first few pages at least will roughly match the subject, but it’ll be a random selection of everything with those key words attached. You could do the same for American music posters, or advertising posters. If you happen to  find a couple of items that you like, even if the colour is reasonably accurate, they’ll probably be in low resolution, so the detail will be fuzzy, which means you won’t get more than a general idea of what the original poster is like. If you feel like buying a poster, you’ll be lucky to find an original, and, if it’s more than a few years old, you’ll most likely have to put up with a copy, having little idea of the quality until it arrives.

Now that bidding online is commonplace, sales like next week’s Modern Posters at New York’s Swann Auction Galleries are open to a worldwide market, which is great for them, but in turn also allows us to look at a vast amount of original, often rare examples of graphic design on our computer monitors, or mobile devices, in fairly decent image resolution. The beauty is that all of the material has been examined by experts, and usually comes from private or corporate collections. These days, the sale catalogues, available in book-form for most auctions that can be ordered in advance on-line, are usually very well-researched and well-produced, and contain detailed information on each item, its provenance and general state. Sometimes the catalogues themselves become, over time, collectable.

Kenneth D Haak & Paul Smith,
Get All The News / And Get It Right /
The New York Times, c 1951
Estimate $1,000 > $1,500



George Maciunas,
USA Surpasses All The
Genocide Records!, 1969
Estimate $400 > $600



Often, just as on eBay, you can bid up to a certain deadline, but taking part in the live sales is more fun. With a bit of savvy and a few deft clicks, you can buy a design classic at a good price and arrange to have it delivered direct to your door. Better still, even if you have no intention of buying, but happen to be in the right place – in this instance, New York – you can stroll around the viewing exhibition inspecting any or all of the lots for free, returning as often as you want before the sale starts.

Swann’s auction includes archive Swiss, Polish, German, French and Japanese posters, as well as many by British artists. There’s a 1907 poster by Munich secessionist artist Franz von Stück, and a Peter Behrens design for the Deutsche Werkbund exhibition, 1914. Swiss polymath Max Bill is represented by an advertising poster (1932) for the modernist furniture company Wohnbedarf. No less than seven Cassandre posters are in this sale, including his famous Dubonnet (c1956) work, estimated at $2,000 – $3,000. Nine single lot Edward McKnight Kauffer posters range in estimated price from $500 > $18,000, while three Abram Games WWII works will also be sold. There’s a Massimo Vignelli (1963) poster for Pirelli, and a square poster by Gerit Rietveld.

Andy Warhol,
Fifth New York Film Festival /
Lincoln Center, 1967

Estimate $1,500 > $2,000



Tomi Ungerer,
The Voice / The Magician, 1968,
for The Village Voice
Estimate $500 > $750



Constantly exposed to a lot of American TV and films, and some American magazines – up until recently, unless we visited America, had access to the Art Director’s Club annuals, or specifically searched for them on the internet, Britons and Europeans rarely had the opportunity to see a representative selection of original American posters, let alone buy them. Comprising roughly 50% of the total number of lots, a small sample of these accompany this post.

The Modern Posters sale at Swann Auction Galleries also includes rare non-poster items, such as Herbert Bayer and Walter Gropius’s Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar 1919 – 1923, bound volume, and Bayer’s Austellung / Europäisches Kunstgewerbe exhibition catalogue (a copy of which is in the MoMA collection), both with bold and uncompromising typographic cover treatments. There’s also a group of 7 copies of bauhaus, the school’s magazine, first published in 1926, with cover designs by Herbert Bayer, Joost Schmidt and Hannes Meyer, from the 1928-29 period, for which bidding is expected in the $3,000 > 4,000 bracket. A group of 8 issues of the magazine Vanity Fair, published between 1930-35 is estimated at $700 > 1,000.

Images Courtesy Swann Auction Galleries



Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you.

The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier



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