A few days ago I found myself in a charity shop in Diss (exactly why we ended up in Diss is a story for another day) when I spotted this old-looking book from 1957. For the not-too-bad price of £3, I am now the owner of Technical College Series’ ‘Engineering Workshop Drawing‘ Volume One. Like with most things I’ve been buying lately, if it’s old, chances are I’ll think it’s awesome. This book appeals to my design side thanks to the tons of blue-print style diagrams inside, especially the hand-drawn type adorning said diagrams.

The characters are just really cool. Rigid, electronic, retro and stylish, it reminds me of old fridges and televisions from the 50s. The thin weight and wide style looks great, and if I get a chance I may even try and turn it into a font. Like the Letraset catalogue I found last month, this book is another relic from a by-gone era of design, but this time it’s a whole other side of design, one that I haven’t really seen that much of. Engineering and mechanical design.

This akins back to the ‘graphics’ I had to do in high school for technology, which I never really liked and was sarcastic about constantly. Essentially it was just technical drawing, but all I remember doing was drawing inch perfect borders around A3 paper every lesson and very little else. Since getting into real graphic design I haven’t seen or had much to do with this sort of stuff, which is arguably just as big as the logos and adverts my colleagues and I design. The diagrams in this book though, almost seem like pieces of art. The type and precise drawings are really exquisite and look pretty funky, in a hard-working, machine kinda way.

Picture overload I know, but there’s so many understated, beautiful looking pictures I want to show as many as possible. The book itself if pretty worn, and looks like it’s spent quite a while sitting on some shelf in a workshop adorned with sawdust and insanely sharp pencils, which is rather nice I think. I’m not even sure if this sort of stuff is still practised anymore, as I would guess like my kind of graphics, it too, has become predominantly digital now. A shame, but at least we have books like this as a constant reminder of the talent and hard work put into things as simple as hinge brackets and limit gauges.

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