All posts filed under: Design heroes

Design heroes: Robert Brownjohn 2

Notebook: 23 May 2016 | DESIGN HEROES A year ago I wrote a short article about one of my design heroes, Robert Brownjohn, and at the time of writing I had to trawl the internet to find information about him. However, in the last few weeks, a brilliant and comprehensive archive of his work has become available to view online. It has been compiled and curated by his daughter Eliza and can be viewed here. This website and fresh information from Eliza about her father, has prompted me to revise my original post and here it is updated and re-written… My dad used to bank with Midland Bank and when I was about 11 or 12 he must have been sent a piece of marketing from Midland Bank called ‘How a cheque book works’. It was designed to encourage new customers to open a bank account and use a cheque book rather than save their money under a mattress and pay in cash. Anyway, when I spotted it, I was taken in by the clever design and simple bold, modern graphics. My dad let me hang on to it and I’ve still got it today in my collection of graphics. …

Les Mason and the Epicurean covers

Notebook: 24 March 2016 | MAGAZINES | DESIGN HEROES Years ago on a trip to Australia, I was strolling through a flea market and came across an odd looking magazine called The Epicurean. The cover was a surreal photo of bottles of wine, a pineapple, a chair and a glass of wine balanced on the soles of someone’s feet, all of which were half buried in sand on a beach… weird but brilliant. I brought the magazine home, stuffed it in a box and forgot about it. It wasn’t until 25 years later that I dug it out again. I was reading the latest copy of Eye magazine and they had a whole feature devoted to The Epicurean mag and its wonderful covers – which were even more surreal than the issue I’d bought. I discovered that the creative genius responsible for these wacky covers was an American called Les Mason who had moved to Sydney in 1961. He became one of Australia’s most prominent graphic designers in the 60s and 70s and it was his work for The Epicurean – Australia’s first food …

Campaign magazine and the mysterious Mr Schenk

Notebook: 16 September 2015, with updates in December 2016 and May 2017 Long before the days of the internet and graphic design mags, if you wanted a career as a graphic designer, then the place to go to view the job ads, used to be Campaign magazine. Campaign is of course, the weekly trade magazine for the advertising industry but back in the 70s it was stuffed full of jobs for designers as well as for advertising execs. It was, and still is, a great looking publication with a sharp design that has changed little during its 47 year lifetime and the fact that its design has stood the test of time so well, is testament to the creative skills of its designer – the mysterious and enigmatic Roland Schenk. Schenk was a Swiss typographer who had worked with the legendary German art director Willy Fleckhaus on Twen magazine (see footnote below). When the publisher Haymarket bought the stuffy trade paper World’s Press News in 1968 and re launched it as the snazzy Campaign, they called upon Roland Schenk …

Design heroes: Robert Brownjohn

Notebook: 5 June 2015 My dad used to bank with Midland Bank and when I was about 11 or 12 he must have been sent a piece of marketing from Midland Bank called ‘How a cheque book works’. It was designed to encourage new customers to open a bank account and use a cheque book rather than save their money under a mattress and pay in cash. Anyway, when I spotted it, I was taken in by the clever design and simple bold, modern graphics. My dad let me hang on to it and I’ve still got it today in my collection of graphics. Looking back, I can see how it inspired and influenced me. I think it may have been designed by a guy called Robert Brownjohn who seems to have been one of 1960s London’s equivalents to Mad Men’s Don Draper judging by his lifestyle. Brownjohn is famous for designing the title sequences for the Bond films From Russia with Love and Goldfinger but he also designed very simple but clever typographic cinema adverts for the Midland Bank in the late 1960s and I think the ‘How a cheque book works’ was designed by him (or his colleagues). You can see pictures of ‘How a cheque book works’ and read a bit …

Design heroes: David King

Notebook: 17 October 2014 Having just watched the wonderful film Pride which is set in 1984 and is based on a true story of lesbian and gay activists supporting the miner’s strike, it prompted me to recall some of the bold, political graphics of the time such as Rock against Racism posters, Anti-Nazi League banners and logo and City Limits magazine covers. These were all designed by a guy called David King and many of us who grew up in the late 1970s and early 80s will remember his distinctive yellow, red and black constructivist style designs with condensed block sans fonts. City Limits (1981-1993) was a London listings magazine that rivalled Time Out and each week both magazines’ covers vied for attention on the newsagent’s shelf. Now, what I hadn’t realised was that David King had also been art editor at The Sunday Times Magazine from 1965-1975 and had worked alongside the famous art director, Michael Rand. The Sunday Times Magazine employed some of the best photographers, illustrators and writers of the day and as a young child I remember avidly looking through the pages of the magazine and admiring Don McCullin’scaptivating black and white photos from the Vietnam war and features brought to life with bold illustration such as that by Brian Sanders shown here.    I …