Some more vintage book covers I snapped recently, my favorite being the Jugendstil-ish Prince of the House of David. No credit was given for that illustration or for the calligrapher who did the hand-lettering on the Pakistan cover. However, the Steinbeck cover and interior were illustrated by Paris Review founding art editor, William Pène Du Bois, a prolific children’s book author in his own right.
A rotating exhibit at the Lillian Goldman Visitor Center of the Seed Savers Exchange highlights some beautiful seed catalog covers from days gone by. I’m nowhere near Decorah, IA, but if you aren’t either, don’t fret. They’re updating this Facebook photo album with samples from the exhibit. Hopefully they’ll be adding more as this is merely the inaugural selection. When you’re done, you should also check out another album of “Early 1900’s Seed Catalog Tin Signs & Magnets,” which they’ve re-issued as tin replicas that you can buy in their online store.
If ever I yearned to be in New York City in the winter it was now. On display now through February 15 the AIGA National Design Center in New York hosts The Lustigs: A Cover Story, described by AIGA as “an encyclopedic exhibition of the Lustigs’ design work.” Lovers of visual junk already know I’m a fan of the Lustigs’ work and so my excitement about this should come as no surprise. Their individual graphical styles seemed to complement each other’s, which one might expect in a husband and wife dynamic. However, both Elaine’s and Alvin’s work stand strongly as individual bodies in and of themselves.
What makes this particular exhibition shine is that many of the works are presented in final form — meaning that, in addition to the usual framed, precious-objects-behind-glass, many works appear as vintage printed books mounted to the walls (see inset). Such a presentation makes a world of difference; like seeing the actual Mona Lisa rather than a picture in a book — no matter how beautifully it was reproduced. See you in New York!
I’ve just added some new label scans to the Cult of the Goat bock beer labels gallery. It’s now up to 74 gruesome, goofy, and plain old weird looking goat-adorned labels from American breweries—like the one here from Fort Pitt Brewery, which resembles something out of a ’70s Salem witch trials movie. Enjoy!
Here’s a beauty that came to me via a friend and fellow 45 collector—an Alex Steinweiss cover for a box of Morton Gould 7-inch records on Columbia. Here’s the wonderful Steinweiss script we’ve come to love contrasted against some microscopic Futura type amid some rather basic geometric line art. Simple and beautiful and a great example of Steinweiss’ thin-line, slightly jittery, script lettering. Enjoy!
I found these two Alex Steinweiss-designed and illustrated album covers gathering dust in a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in South Austin. None of his beautiful, signature, curly script, but still fun nonetheless. They’re still there, so go grab ’em!
I’ve occasionally collected band/concert posters that I’ve managed to un-secure from walls and poles around the various cities I’ve lived in and visited, but they’ve always ended up rather mangled due to whatever packing tape, wheat paste or staples were keeping them in place. Not to mention have taken up a lot of space, what with their average 12″ x 18″ dimensions. And, no, I don’t remove posters before they’re “old,” so as to ensure they’ve lived out their intended purpose. Well, I’ve recently decided that I don’t need to own every piece of graphical ephemera I come across—mostly because I’ve mainly collected these posters as design inspiration rather than whatever precious little objects I or anyone else might believe them to be. So, here’s my online photo gallery of Austin Music Posters in the Wild. I’ll add new ones as I see/snap them. Sorry if the quality of some seem fuzzy. They are in the wild, after all. Please feel free to comment if you like and/or know the designers of any. Credit where credit is due.
Behold this recently acquired stash of Bell Records 45 RPM and 78 RPM 7-inch vinyl records, which were distributed by Pocket Books and featured cover versions or “sound-alike” versions of popular tunes of the time. Sound-alike versions were cheap to produce and, beyond the flat rate the musicians were paid, cost the record company only publishing royalties on top of manufacturing and distribution. A nickel and dime game perhaps, but there was certainly profit to be made if enough unsuspecting customers bought the sound-alikes instead of the real McCoys. Some of the songs featured in this collection are Jackie Wilson’s That’s Why, here performed by otherwise-lost-to-history act, “The Muses” and the Kingston Trio’s hit, Tom Dooley, performed by the equally anonymous “The Four Dreams.” [Read more…]
Click on over to Letterheady, a one-page scroller featuring letterhead designs for such notable figures as Nikola Tesla and Adolph Hitler to obscure companies like the Liverpool-based Robot Salesmen Ltd. They appear to be legit, with sources linking to other sites from which the examples were culled. Some seem to have been Photoshopped to give them an empty, unused state. Who cares. They’re fun to browse and fit right in here with my love of Visual Junk.
Steven Heller posted this piece on Elaine Lustig Cohen’s recent talk at MoMA’s Library and Museum Archives on the museum’s collection of works by her late husband, legendary graphic designer Alvin Lustig (previously lusted over on this website). Cohen is, of course, a superb graphic designer in her own right and probably too often overshadowed by Mr. Lustig’s high-profile body of work. My favorite piece of hers I discovered years after acquiring it. Huh? Picked up for a song in an NYC used book store, Jose Ortega y Gasset’s On Love: Aspects of a Single Theme sat on my bookshelf of design fetishes for years before I’d ever bothered to look up who’d designed the cover—even though her signature was plainly visible.
I like Radiohead. I’ve always liked them. From the earnest songwriting of their youth to the rejection and gradual acceptance of their own fame to their continued exploration of what “music” is. I also appreciate the attention they have always paid to the visual component of their works having hired numerous designers, animators, illustrators, filmmakers and artists to create their albums’ packaging, videos, posters, websites, t-shirts and more. And that is precisely why I was a bit perplexed to see the masthead on the website for their new album, The King Of Limbs.
By popular demand, my ever-growing collection of 45 RPM Record Label Designs is back online with a new and improved gallery widget. I’m currently updating the images so that they’re as large and beautiful as possible and I will eventually get around to populating them with all of that delicious meta data about the artists, labels, songs, etc.. Enjoy!
Those of you familiar with NoRelevance.com and perhaps my other blog, CrateDiggersGold.com, know of my love, er- lust for 45 RPM records and their label art. Well, I’ve had to practically be medicated to prevent myself from starting another collection: 45 RPM factory sleeves. I thank Ms Kavel Rafferty for taking on this task and doing such a swell job of it. Design is certainly part of the allure of collecting paper ephemera, but process is also part of my curiosity. As modern printing goes digital it’s nice to have on hand several references of one and two color printing that look great despite their age and the cheap papers and inks most of these sleeves consisted of. I still consider the large hole 45 RPM record label and sleeve to be among the more difficult design challenges. Good think vinyl’s making a come back!
Firstly, no, I am not affiliated in any way with The Label Man, but I do LOVE the original vintage labels featured (and for sale) on this website. The collections are broken down into several categories for your browsing pleasure and the website also features plenty of info on the history of crate labels as well as “Tips on Building your Collection of Vintage Fruit Crate Labels.” The hundreds of labels on the website provide a cornucopia of hand-drawn typography from around the ’30s through the recent past and should be a great source of inspiration for any creative persons’ pursuits.
Peruse the portfolio of this New Orleans-based designer and try not to feel lazy! In addition to his commercial work, which is quite excellent, Mr. Kiesewetter has been busy working and collaborating on projects ranging from post/medium, an online artist/gallery portfolio management system for New Orleans artists, a screen-printed poster series for the historic 2nd-lining Nine Times Social & Pleasure Club and the Neighborhood Story Project, a book-making project based in New Orleans whose mission states “‘Our stories told by us,’ we work with writers in neighborhoods around New Orleans to create books about their communities.” Honestly, it’s difficult to tell which of Mr. Kiesewetter’s work is commercial or pro-bono as the level of quality and creativity remains consistently high. I recently purchased the first two issues of Constance, an art and literary magazine produced in New Orleans, which Mr. Kiesewetter collaborates on and is how I stumbled upon his work. You should take a look, yourself.
I’m looking forward to seeing Typeface, a film by Justine Nagan, which recently premiered at TypeCon2009 in Atlanta. The film’s tag line say that it’s “charting the intersection of rural America and contemporary graphic design.” Well, that’s right up our alley here at NoRelevance.com! The preview images and synopsis look and sound great and all of its early press seems to indicate that it’s a wonderful film. Hopefully more interesting than that other film about type that came out not too long ago. Speaking of the synopsis: “Typeface focuses on a rural Midwestern museum and print shop where international artists meet retired craftsmen and together navigate the convergence of modern design and traditional technique.” You had me at “typeface.”