On one of my resent second hand bookshop trawls
I stumbled on these two delightful book jackets …
The above, from 1963, was designed and
photographed by Larry Carter and featured in the very first D&AD annual. I
love the fact that it uses just in one colour and utilitarian typogrphy. Carter makes the maximum from
the production restrictions. The image, using macro photography, gives a wonderful
graphic feel and reminds me of the opening titles of To Kill a Mockingbird
released in 1962 and influenced many graphic designers at the time…
Above Stephen Frankfurt's ground breaking film titles.
The other cover is by Nicholas Thirkell, my
one time business partner at CDT. Designed in 1967 when he was at McMillan publishers as Art Director. Printed on coloured cartridge paper it created a facsimile
of a railway ticket, complete with punched hole and print on the reverse side.
covers have this sort of inventiveness these days.
This poster was designed in 1968 by the then ‘enfant
terrible’ Alan Aldridge for Andy Warhol’s film Chelsea Girls. I know it’s very
un-PC in this 21st century, but for all that, I still like it. And it has to be
compared with this earlier 1967 work by the American Illustrator Tomi Ungerer...
his own moving card. Plagiarism or great minds and all that?
Born in 1926, he was a key figure on the British graphic scene
in the 1960s.
His work was included in 17 Graphic Designers, which was published
in 1963 and was the precursor to D&AD – a rare find if you can lay your
hands on a copy.
Sewell studied at Hornsey School of Art and then at the
Royal College of Art. In 1954, he became the first graphic designer to be
employed by BBC television to take charge of on-screen graphics. He also
directed a few experimental films, which have been recently released on DVD by
Above two frames from Everybody's Nobody (1960) directed by John Sewell. The bottom image clearly shows Sewell's fascination with graphic abstraction, something that was to dominate his later print work.
But for me it is Sewell’s later publishing work that I have
found most rewarding. His dynamic low-tech approach, using vibrantly coloured
paper cut-outs, letterpress print and simple textures, gave his work a
Not only did he design many book jackets and covers but he also
designed identities for independent bookshops, Better Books and The City
Bookshop, both now long gone.
Better Books at 94 Charing Cross Road, London in the late 1960's which features Sewell's fascia graphics.
Sewell's cover for Design Magazine 1967
The following run of Penguin covers from the mid
1960’s Writing Today series really crystallises his distinctive graphic
Poster designed by George Mayhew 1965. George was a member of the design group, BDMW Associates. In their short time together in the 1960's they produce some wonderful work and George was the undisputed king of the graphic poster...