We watched a fantastic programme on television last week, all about the history of the postage stamp and stamp collecting. It was through this that I was reintroduced to the designs of David Gentleman. I say reintroduced because I had many of his designs stuck in my stamp album way back in the 1970s.
Now that the internet has been invented, it has been much quicker and easier for me to go in search of more examples of his wonderful work. Between 1962 & 2000, he designed 103 different stamps for the Post Office – for a long time, his was the most prolific output for them. He designed posters for London Transport, the National Trust, Imperial War Museum and the Public Records Office. He also designed book covers & illustrations for publishers including Penguin and Faber as well as for his own travel books.
Between his postage stamp output and his 100-metre long mural on the Northern Line platform of Charing Cross Underground Station – David Gentleman is probably one of the most widely viewed designers in the world! You can find a more extensive study and interview of the designer here.
In this week’s Designer Desire, we’d like to introduce you to Alain Grée (if you’ve not heard of him already, that is). Eighty years old this year (2016), Grée is an illustrator, mainly known for his children’s books and board games.
Grée is an enthusiastic sailor – he’s crossed the Atlantic on his own ships – which can be seen in his very detailed educational books about ships, boats, the sea and sea creatures.
Luckily, Grée has had a very prolific output; his books (over 300) have been produced in large numbers and in 25 different languages. This means you can find examples of his work easily from outlets such as Etsy and Amazon.
His work is still being produced by RicoBel based in Ghent, Belgium who own the rights to his works. Button Books, based in the UK, stock a large stock of his early-years books, activity sets and flash cards.
Here’s a short film of the designer himself talking about how he created his books.
This week, we’re featuring the wonderful graphic designs of Daphne Padden (1925-2010) in our Designer Desire series.
‘Mr & Mrs Crownfolio’ have been writing about Daphne on their Vintage Poster Blog for almost 2 decades and it’s thanks in the main to them that something is actually known of her. The vast majority of the images in our mosaic have been borrowed from them. She’s highly underrated in their, and our, opinion!
She has produced work for the likes of The Post Office Savings Bank, P & O, British Railways, BEA, ROSPA and Unilever.
Her designs can be found on travel posters, food packaging and restaurant menus. We’re surprised that she never illustrated children’s books, her style is perfectly suited for that medium.
We’re lucky enough to have this single item of hers in our possession – a bright & bold poster produced for The Post Office Savings Bank advertising their investment accounts.
This one is by another renowned 20th century graphic artist – Pat Keely.
This ‘Keep Floors Clean’ poster was commissioned by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in the 1950s.
In addition to his work for RoSPA, Pat Keely was also responsible for some iconic World War II posters done for The Ministry of Information. There are public transport and GPO commissions too – he even designed postage stamps.
As with the Leonard Cusden, this is an original vintage piece. We’re pretty sure that this particular poster image has never been reproduced so quite a scarce thing. It’s one for the graphic artist aficionados on one level, but also works simply as a decorative art work for the home. It would look great displayed on a kitchen wall – the imagery, colours and subject matter. There’s first refusal to our blog readers, so let us know if you’re interested.
We love graphic design – and collect vintage examples from the mid twentieth century in particular.
…posters, menus, books and magazines are all potential sources.
We’ve just acquired this fabulous vintage poster by renowned graphic artist, Leonard Cusden. It dates from the 1950s and was commissioned by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. It warns of the dangers of working with compressed air. He’s also famous for his distinctive 1930s railway posters.
It’s very striking in terms of design & colours – we love the ghoulish spectre!
Quite a few of his health & safety posters have now been re-produced by RoSPA. We were very chuffed with this find, especially as it’s an original copy from the period.
We thought we’d share some more of our collection over the coming weeks…
…starting with this collection of cruise ship menus dating from the late 1960s.
They were produced for the German company, Norddeutscher Lloyd Bremen.
We like the combination of stark pen & ink drawing with bold, partial colouring. They’re very distinctive – the artist’s signature looks like Geißler, but we can’t seem to find any mention of him anywhere on the internet. Can anyone out there shed some light?
This particular set would look fabulous with simple black frames against a large expanse of white wall. The vibrant colours would really leap out and draw you in to take a closer look.