Designer Desire: René Gruau

Mosaic of René Gruau illustrations | H is for Home

Count Renato Zavagli-Riccardelli, better known as René Gruau (1909-2004), was born in Rimini, Italy. He was probably the most well known fashion illustrator of his time – at least, his works are. Prolific in his output during his lengthy career, his work graced the covers and pages of fashion magazines such as Marie-Claire, Elle, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar. He produced illustrations for a string of haute couture fashion houses; most famously Dior, but also Givenchy, Lanvin, Balmain, Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli and Elizabeth Arden. He also designed advertising posters and other material for brands such as Air France, Martini, Cinzano, Du Maurier, Rodier, Blizzand and Fellini’s film, La Dolce Vita.

His work is widely available online, from original artwork and prints on Artnet and 1st Dibs to reproduction items on eBay and Etsy. A handful of books have been published about the man and his designs – available on Amazon.

Portrait of René Gruau

Additional image credits:

Christies | Gruau Collection

Designer Desire: Jan Pieńkowski

Mosaic of Jan Pieńkowski artwork | H is for Home

Having not grown up in the UK, Jan Pieńkowski unfortunately passed me by until recently. Luckily, I’ve discovered his wonderful, award-winning illustrations as an adult.

Today’s kids will know him as the co-creator (with Helen Nicoll) of Meg and Mog. People of my age, will know his earlier graphic work from his time working on the BBC’s Watch children’s programme in the early 70s – where he first met Nicoll.

We just have to share the the Jessie Gertrude Townsend’s limerick that accompanied his illustration in their Annie, Bridget and Charlie collaboration… you’ll know why!

H is for Horrid young Hannah,
Who has the most shocking bad manner.
She went out to dine
With a party of nine
And she ate every single banana.

His illustrated children’s books (many of which are still in publication) are readily available on WHSmith, Amazon, eBay and Etsy.

Click here to see some more of our Designer Desire series.

Jan Pieńkowskicredit

Designer Desire: Alan Fletcher

Mosaic of Alan Fletcher designs | H is for Home

Alan Fletcher (1931-2006) was one of the true giants of 20th century graphic design. He is the legend that designed the  logos of news agency, Reuters and the V&A museum.

He designed book & magazine covers and illustrations for publishers such as Penguin, Time, Life and Fortune. He designed advertising material for brands such as Pirelli, Olivetti and Cunard. He even designed the cover artwork for Pulp’s 2001 album, We Love Life.

Fletcher was one of the five original founders of Pentagram, today the world’s largest independent design consultancy. He was an art college contemporary of, amongst others, David Gentleman, Terence Conran, Peter Blake and Peter Firmin.

There are examples of his Mebel clam ashtrays, books, postcards and limited-edition prints available on eBay and Etsy.

Portrait of Alan Fletcher
Image credits

Designer Desire: Lotta Jansdotter

Mosaic of Lotta Jansdotter designs | H is for Home

We bought a lovely new duvet set a couple of weeks ago that was designed by Lotta Jansdotter. We’d not heard of her before but have since searched for and found lots of examples of her work online.

She’s a Finland-born, USA-based surface pattern designer whose products can be found on fabrics, bed linen, soft furnishings, luggage, ceramics, paper goods… all manner of homewares.

Her designs are bright and modern with a Scandi twist.

There are lots of different outlets selling her goods including Amara, B&Q, DaWanda, Etsy, eBay and Target. She has published a number of books on sewing, craft and decorating projects.

Alternatively, if you like getting hands on, Jansdotter runs workshops a few times a year in diverse locations such as Jaipur, Tokyo, Los Angeles and Åland (the islands where she is from originally).

Lotta Jansdotter portrait

Image credits:

Ashley Wilde Group | Pinterest

Designer Desire: Hervé Morvan

Mosaic of Hervé Morvan designs | H is for Home

One of the most well-known Hervé Morvan (1917-1980) works is probably the design he produced in 1956 for Banania – a French chocolate drink company.

He designed posters and other advertising materials for lots of other well known brands including Air France, Perrier, Evian, Gitanes and Bally.

Between the 1930s and 1950s, he designed over 150 film posters and also illustrated a number of LP covers and the Printemps du Monde series of children’s books by Jean des Vallières.

His original posters fetch good prices and can sometimes be found on eBay or specialist outlets such as Vintage Posters

There’s a book of around 280 of his works which is available on Amazon.

Portrait of Hervé Morvancredit

Image credits: Invaluable

Designer Desire: Ryohei Yanagihara

Mosaic of Ryohei Yanagihara designs | H is for Home

It’s taken us a whole 5 years to revisit the work of graphic designer and animator Ryohei Yanagihara (1931-2015) – 柳原良平 in Japanese. His most famous work was his Uncle Torys character for Suntory Whisky. The other main brand for whom he produced work was shipping company, Mitsui O.S.K Lines. They even have a virtual museum and shop on their website dedicated to his work.

He also illustrated several children’s books including The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Babies Onomatopoeia.

It goes without saying that you’ll mainly pick up examples of his work in Japan. However, you can occasionally find his designs popping up internationally on sites such as Amazon and eBay.

Ryohei Yanagihara portraitcredit

Here’s a selection of Yanagihara’s animations from YouTube

Additional image credits:

Flickr | Pinterest