work blog about search
 
 

Designs on Britain

We made our way to north London over the weekend to check out Designs on Britain, the new show that has just opened at the Jewish Museum.

This timely exhibition showcases how much of what might be considered classic British design was produced by Jewish immigrants, some of them escaping the Nazi regime during the Second World War. It covers various design disciplines, including graphic design, textiles, industrial design and advertising (though curiously not architecture). It focuses on a few key figures, including FHK Henrion, and the three Hans’s: Schmoller, Schleger and Unger. Pleasingly, much of the material on show is the original or early artwork for well known designs.

Here you can see the original mosaic created by Hans Unger and Eberhard Schulze for their 1970 Busabout poster, for what was then London Transport.

And how glorious is this British Rail poster, also by Unger, from the 1950s:

So much to love here: the joy of using the umbrella as a surreal window; the rain drops echoing the shape of a train; the simplicity of the ‘Cold & Wet’ headline and the unhappy character below the umbrella; the economy of line in the drawing of the contented traveler; the delicious colours; and Unger’s monogram in the top right.

Meanwhile, and with a touch more typographic finesse, here’s Hans Schmoller’s second proof for Concerning Architecture from the 1960s:

And here are Hans Schleger’s early ideas for the identity for the John Lewis Partnership, from the early 60s. (Apparently his very earliest ideas revolved around the image of a bee, and he spent hours sketching bees in the Natural History Museum before abandoning the idea.)

Sticking with company identities, here is the National Theatre logo artwork by Ian Dennis from FHK Henrion’s design consultancy Henrion Design Associates.

There’s a lot of Henrion’s work on display at the show, including many of his poster designs, such as this – Four Hands, from 1944, commissioned by the US Office of War Information. A bold, striking image that dispenses with the written word, meaning it can be used in any country, regardless of language.

It is displayed next to the original artwork:

In amongst Henrion’s identity work, there’s even this proposed emblem for the Festival of Britain – the gig of course eventually went to another British-Jewish graphic designer, Abram Games.

It’s a cracking show, and it runs until 15 April.

posted: 23 October 2017
categories: Exhibitions | Graphics
 
recommended reading

Ace Jet 170
One of the finest individual design blogs (it’s been going as long as we have!) from Irish designer Richard Weston. Covering found type, print and stuff.

Casual Optimist
If you want to know what’s happening in the world of book cover design, keep an eye on this excellent blog by Dan Wagstaff.

Creative Review
Covering design and advertising, CR has been running since 1981, under the editorship of Patrick Burgoyne since 1999. Essential reading.

Daniel Gray
Dan writes a column in Creative Review, and this is his consistently entertaining blog about design and suchlike.

Eye Magazine
The best graphic design magazine out there, from editor John L. Walters and art director Simon Esterson.

Flat File
A fantastic collection of online publications based on pieces from the Herb Lubalin Study Centre.

Grafik
Grafik is the brilliant online magazine about all things graphic design, from writers Caroline Roberts and Angharad Lewis.

Justin’s Amazing World
Justin Hobson, of Fenner Paper, is a bona fide expert on paper & print, and a charming chap to boot. His blog features in-depth analysis of the projects he’s worked on, including a few of our own.

Kottke.org
One of the oldest blogs on the web. And one of the best.

Lecture in Progress
An invaluable collection of wisdom from a range of graphic designers, illustrators, photographers et al. From the team that brought you It’s Nice That.

Spitalfields Life
The anonymous Gentle Author of this wonderful blog has promised to write 10,000 stories about the life & culture of Spitalfields in east London, writing one story each and every day.

St Bride Library
The St Bride Library houses one of the world’s finest collection of books (& related objects) about printing and design. It also hosts unmissable design talks and events.

Styling and Salvage
Rupert Blanchard is a mate of ours, and makes great furniture. This blog covers his projects, interests, and life in Margate.

Subtraction.com
Brooklyn-based designer Khoi Vinh has been writing insightfully about design, technology and culture since the turn of the millennium.

The Ride Journal
A glorious mix of the very best writing and illustration about all types of cycling. On an indefinite break now, but you can download past issues for free.