Fernando Gutiérrez brought Spanish designer Cruz Noveillo to my attention.
The series of posters featured below were all produced in 1975, although they would fit comfortably into a decade earlier. They seem quintessentially sixties to me.
They were not designed as the ‘official’ movie posters for public consumption, generally produced by the large film distributors, but were created for the film festivals of San Sebastian, Cannes, and Berlin. Novillo was not restricted by the normal crass commercial requirements but was very much left to reflect a more personal graphic and intelligent feel, resulting in a surprising freshness in the genre.
Back in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, students at the Royal College of Art’s Graphic Design Department produced a stream of posters for the various College societies. The work was always exciting, refreshing, and innovative when compared with what was generally going on in the working graphic scene in London at the time. Here are just a few of the gems…
Poster for the RCA Film Society designed by Barrie Bates (later Billy Apple) 1962.
Poster for the RCA Film Society designed by Anthony Guy 1957
Poster for the RCA magazine Ark designed by Gordon Moore 1957
Poster for the RCA Jazz Society designed byJohn Fenton Brown 1962 Poster for the RCA Galleries designed by Stephen Abis and Peter Blake 1963
For me this poster really conveys the dangers of industrial swarf back in the 1950's British industrial heyday. It was designed by Leonard Cusden in 1951 for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. More of which you can find here.
Both of the above covers were designed by Roy Kuhlman (1923–2007). He was a prolific creator of book covers in the US from the late 1950's on. In 1995, he was inducted to New York Art Directors Hall of Fame.
Found today in Skoob Books at the Brunswick Centre (sorry a little blurred).
It was designed by George Mayhew in 1964. He was one of my favourite designers from the early 1960s. He created many beautiful silk screened posters for the Paris Pullman cinema and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Along with Derek Birdsall, Peter Wildbur and George Daulby formed BDMW Associates a short lived super group of the sixties.
I have often been critical on this blog of the world of magazines due to the predictability of their bland, pushy covers dripping with so-called celebrities and endlessly banal copy lines.
Recently, I popped into my local Waterstone’s (I keep the apostrophe in). They have always had a habit of displaying new books front cover side up on tables.
As I wandered around, I became increasingly depressed about the sameness in their presentation. I surreptitiously snapped these shots on my iPhone.
See what I mean? Pretty dull, aren’t they? But all was not completely lost. Tucked away on the shelves was this delightful series from the small independent publisher Little Toller Books.
All of the other covers on the Waterstone’s tables have little distinctiveness: perfectly usable images are overwhelmed by bad typography and clumsy layouts. All end up looking exactly the same, just like the magazines I hate so much.
When will publishers stop this relentless pursuit of ‘selly’ covers? Remainder shops are full of them. The fact is, there is no magic formula for such covers, and many other factors come into play: good reviews, distribution, radio, television, social media, book signings, etc., etc.
It takes the bravery of an independent like Little Toller Books or Persephone Books to present a uniform style that not only creates a strong presence in bookshops but also treats the audience with intelligence and integrity. One can only assume that they probably don’t have overpaid, know-it-all sales directors barking at the art directors.
There was a golden period when many publishers had individual, uniform styling – why not bring it back?