I have been using Euthymol toothpaste for the past 30 years but it’s been around since 1898. The packaging used to be far more art nuevo in style than it is now. Over the years, the design has been rather badly simplified leaving just hints of the original splendor.
Display card from the 1930's
An advertisment from 1938
End of pack motif
Point of sale display. This sort of thing was very common in the 1920's and 30's. Now it would be understandably outlawed.
Display card from the 1930's
An advertisment from the 1950's
It has been off the shelves for almost a year due to some European Community legislation thing. But it is now back. Still pink, still with its distinctive taste and smell. A little thing I know, but it has pleased me no end.
Jeanloup Sieff is one of my all time favorite photographers, as any reader of this blog will know. I have always loved this beautiful, tantalising image with Sieff’s consummate lighting and obsessional love of fingers.
I received an email from Florence based Renato Mancini yesterday. He explained that he had been a student of Oskar Altherr at Altherrhaus in Switzerland in the late 1970’s. He’d read my 2010 blog posts about Altherr and attached the above poster, which he tells me was designed by Altherr in 1954. I am dubious because Altherr never credited his work. But as Mancini was a student at Altherrhaus I hope it is, as there is so little of Altherr's work in existence as most was destroyed in a fire shortly after his death.
I wrote an in-depth 3-part history of his life on this blog. It’s well worth a read. To my mind, this little known graphic designer should be up there with Josef Muller-Brockmann.
A few years back I protested against Wallpaper Magazine's insensitive competition called ‘Tart Cards’ and sent them a prose poem to accompany the above photograph that I took to convey the mood of my piece. They published it.
I have now turned that poem into a short film, working with actress Dorota Zakrzynska and the highly talented musician/sound designer Tom E Morrison. It is in support of the work of the Helen Bamber Foundation and all those working against the evils of sex trafficking.
So do try to listen on reasonable speakers or earphones because the soundscape is very special.
Recently, I was shortlisted, along with three other designers, to work on the branding of a new attraction at the Handel House Museum in London. We’d been whittled down from twelve designers who’d expressed interest in the project.
There’d been an initial meeting after all twelve of us had submitted detailed written responses to the brief including fee proposals and timescales. It was a Lottery-funded project, and so our proposals had to follow a particular formula and be delivered within an exact timeframe.
A week after the initial meeting I, and the other three short listed designers, were invited to come to a further meeting with the Board of Trustees. This meeting would happen on the 31st March. A little after this invitation, I received an email asking me to bring some ideas to the meeting with the Board of Trustees.
Wanting to be certain of what they meant about ideas, I asked: “Am I right in thinking that you’re now expecting creative concepts at our meeting in March? I’m surprised because there’s been no mention of fees for this work. Does this request to create some preliminary concepts relate to the costing break down that I supplied in my proposal? Please could you let me know the position.”
Here’s the reply I was given:
“The committee has decided that they wanted to get as much of a sense as possible about the rough ideas that the potential designer might have.” Having said that I was surprised when this was suggested, because I’d realised it would entail work and time, I felt that this was asking for a lot without any fee and possibly even a winning idea for free.
They continued, “One of our advisors is the Marketing Director at The Tate. He’s previously worked as the Marketing Director at the Guardian and he’s assured us that asking designers to produce some initial concepts for this meeting was normal standard practise and that he always worked in this way. He said that there wouldn’t be much point doing a face-to-face interview with designers without some rough suggestions of where the design might or could go.”
My response was straightforward:
“Firstly, I never take part in free pitching. My creative thinking is my livelihood. I don’t give it away unless it’s for a charitable concern that I personally want to help.”
“Secondly, free pitching is a practice that various bodies within the design industry are trying to outlaw and I fully support this. I’m surprised and shocked that the Tate Marketing Director has said that "this was completely standard and he always worked in this way."
It isn’t, and I think he should be ashamed of himself for giving such shabby advice and for having such little respect and regard for designers. The Tate is a part government funded organisation. It should engage in best practice, particularly with the creative community that it purports to promote. Needless to say I won’t be taking part in this ignominious nonsense and wish that it had been made clear to me that this was a free pitch before involving me in a considerable waste of my time”.
For the Marketing Director of Tate to have such an ignorant disregard of the worth of the creative industry is paradoxical. It suggests that he doesn’t believe graphic designers should be paid for their thinking, echoing the D&AD Chairman Dick Powell’s unfortunate and lamentable missive last year that design graduates should work for nothing. Where would the Tate be without graphic designers? No brand identity, no exhibition graphics, no catalogues, no posters, no signage, no website…
We live in a society where bankers and utility chiefs are paid obscene amounts of money, even when they fail. They contribute little joy, delight or benefit to our society. Designers do this every single day, and the best of them do it with great talent, passion and enthusiasm. Sadly this often makes them vulnerable to exploitation. If, as The Marketing Director of the Tate seems to be alleging, that they get designers to free pitch as a matter of course, I wonder just how many of our industry colleagues are being exploited by them. If you have had similar dealings with the Tate or know of anyone who has, do let me know in confidence.
This is a very sorry and sorry tale and a disgrace. I’d like to encourage The Tate and any of the short listed designers who intend to turn up for the Handel House Museum Trust Board meeting on 31st March to reconsider their intentions and think about the worth of designers and their time.
And a simple Google search will identify who the Marketing Director of the Tate and ex Marketing Director of the Guardian is, with his total disregard for designers.
Yet more banking news. The once self-coined ‘ethical bank’ The Co-operative has to cough up another £400 million for its past misconduct, to add to its already massive losses.
Meanwhile, over at Barclays, we are being fed a series of Loachian-style commercials (and very well made they are too) centring on the loyalty of good old British football supporters in a variety of scenarios showing ordinary people cheering on Barclays-sponsored teams. “Thank you – you are football” says Barclays as 86-year-old Everton supporter Billy Ingham sets off to see his beloved team play.
Dear old Billy Ingham
Much sentimental emotion is stirred up through the soundtrack and the reaction shots of the fans watching the highs and lows of the match. Meanwhile, we are expected to come over all warm and cosy and actually believe that Barclays really does care and is genuinely thankful for its many football supporters.
But the fact is, it is people like Billy and the many thousands of fans like those featured in the commercial that were mis-sold pension plans in a calculated criminal way on an industrial scale, but no one will be ever be prosecuted because, as we all know, the banks are far too important and untouchable – no matter what they do.
Those football fans should look up to the corporate terraces at the matches they attend – that’s where they will see the cosseted Barclays executives sitting in comfort, sipping champagne and segregated well away from the ordinary fans who we are supposed to believe they care so much about.
This is where the caring bankers will typically watch the match in sumptuous comfort
One has to question the morality of our creative community in colluding in this kind of cynical subterfuge.