The year: 1966
Time magazine coined the term ‘Swinging London’.
Twiggy was everywhere
John Lennon caused a major uproar when he commented "We're more popular than Jesus now". In America, fans were encouraged to take their Beatles records and memorabilia to be publically burned on the eve of The Beatles’ Memphis concert
Meanwhile across the pond the great George Lois was still producing great covers for Esquire magazine
David Gentleman was beginning his asstonishing output of stamp designs for Royal Mail
Oh yes, and England won the World Cup in that year 4-2 against West Germany
My film for 1966 was Seconds directed by John Frankenheimer
Seconds with a title sequence designed by Saul Bass
My time at the artist agents Bryan Colmer & Partners was very fruitful. I slowly started to understand and began to love typography, even though I had little formal training. I’d bought Josef Müller-Brockmann’s The Graphic Artist and His Design Problems in 1963, when I stumbled across it while attending calligraphy evening classes. I found the book baffling, but it struck a chord with me and encouraged me to buy books on all aspects of creativity, which became my art school. Here are a few that I bought back in 1966…
I read them from cover to cover and put their advice into practice. I made lots of mistakes of course, but slowly things began to gel. As the in-house designer at the artist agents, I had masses of opportunities to improve my typography on the many covers that passed through.
I started visiting publishers to attempt to pick up freelance book cover work.
These were the days when London was littered with dozens of small,
independent publishing houses. My favourite ploy was to visit bookshops and
make a note of the publishers producing good covers. I’d then phone them from a
telephone box, get through to the art editor or art director and tell them
how good I thought they were. People like knowing that their work is
appreciated. The approach worked because I slowly built up a regular flow of
work outside of my day job.
My evenings were spent reading manuscripts and producing cover designs. My time at Bryan Colmer came to an end when I met an American illustrator who the firm had signed up. He was instrumental in my next step on the creative ladder. I left the artist agents and ended up working for a newly formed American-run design consultancy, Cato/Peters/O’Brien, located in fashionable W1...
Above the mailer that Cato/Peters/O'Brien sent out in advance of their arrival in London
It was the beginning of a big change for me (you can learn more about that meeting and what happened to me next in an earlier post here).
And this is my selected job from that year…
From a series for publishers Jonathan Cape in 1966. These were the days when one would be restricted in the print process. Here I was contained to 3-colour line for these 2 jackets.
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