Tag Archive: magazine


Literature Art Music

“The publication of Perspectives and its sale at a low price that will make it readily available to students has been made possible through a grant from The Ford Foundation, established by the family of Henry Ford. The Foundation is dedicated to works of philanthropy, social welfare and education throughout the world. It is one of the objectives of The Ford Foundation to further friendship and understanding among the peoples of all countries through the exchange of cultural materials. Perspectives will be devoted chiefly to art, letters, and thought of the United States, but its sponsors are also preparing plans for activities aimed at presenting the cultural achievements of many other lands to American audiences.”

It was a couple of months ago now that I picked up two copies of Perspectives from Tombland Books in Norwich. Being a huge design geek when it comes to anything forgotten and retro, two magazines from the 50s was hardly something I was going to not buy. It’s also an added bonus that one of them, is the first ever issue. Now I’ve never heard of Perspectives, or any other design publications pre-1980 for the matter, but by the looks of things this was pretty groundbreaking stuff. I mean, the copyright year is 1952, so I’d be willing to be that a tri-monthly publication focusing on the arts was quite rare to say the least. They’re not even really magazines per say, at least not by todays standards, as they’re bound and of the same quality stock as your average paperback book. Along with issue 1 I picked up number 13 for it’s Bass-ian style cover:


Their content too, is structured and presented much more like a book, which gives these a pretty intellectual feel. And though the emphasis is firmly on ‘the arts’, they’re very well designed typographically. It may have been the 50s, but decent layout is pretty much timeless. This page below is a good example, retro yet intelligent and articulate.


When it comes to the actual articles, alot of it goes over my head, at times sounding more like a textbook with stuff like an essay by Jacques Barzun titled ‘America’s Romance with Practicality’, but there’s some really cool stuff from then new and exciting artists in America. Here’s a couple of the ones I really dug…


Like so much of the stuff I put on Coffee Stained Papers, these are relics of a part of the creative industry’s past that really shouldn’t be sitting outside a second-hand bookshop for £1 each. They should be preserved, cherished and most importantly appreciated. I think it’s weird that these things appear to have been pretty much forgotten about, as several Google searches only yielded a smattering of info and a couple of designers like myself who randomly came across a copy and dug the covers (like this dude here). Which is a shame, as the combined effort and progressive thinking that went into getting something like this published worldwide in the 1950s is a truly wonderful thing. Which I think is a nice note to sign off on, and I’ll leave you with a double page spread of the people responsible for bringing Perspectives to life (I particularly like the look of Lionel Trilling, what a fantastically 50s looking bloke, cut from the same cloth as the great Rod Serling, cigarette on the go, eat your heart out Don Draper).


For Craftsmen of All Ages

Tombland Books in Norwich is pretty much my favourite shop now. See they have these shelves outside the shopfront, with everything on them £1. The vast majority of my old book collection has come from those shelves, and to make it even better the guy once told me they give the money to chairty. Fucking-A. And to make it even better I had a scope round one of the book sellers in the market, one of the ones that has shelves and shelves of mostly damp crap from the mid-90s, found a couple of cool Pelican’s, and they were selling them for £4… seriously?! Right, off to Tombland then.

I picked up this copy of ‘Hobbies Weekly‘ from 1964, and this thing seems dated even for the 60s. Back then toys were made out of wood, and you could make things out of card and copper tubing. Much like the technical drawings in my last post, the illustrations and diagrams in this are pretty cool, and there’s some awesome old-school type and some vintage ads (“Airfix — Just Like the Real Thing!”). The paper is dirty and faded, and there’s no way in hell someone nowadays would build their own plinth for an aquarium, but I guess people did once upon a time, and this is a cool relic from that age.

The Print Area is Indicated on This Page

Just a quick one today folks. I went back to uni last week to help sort out the studios for the start of the academic year, and as an entire room has been taken away from the course, we had to go through massive piles of stuff that’s been accumulating over the last 30 years or so. Most of it was rusty tool-box junk, useless admin forms and old cardboard, but amidst all the fail I found an old Letraset catalogue which, being the typography and design aficionado that I am, couldn’t help but really dig. During some down time I snapped a few photos on my phone, annoyingly I didn’t note what year it came out, but I’m guessing early to mid 80s.

Much like the stuff I found ‘From the Store Room’ and the ‘BS 5261C’ form, this is a cool relic from a time when the design industry was very different. Letraset is probably the best example of how things ‘used to be’, in particular their type transfer sheets that illustrate just how drastically things have changed. The typefaces, symbols and all the other various print-related stuff you could order has been arranged and set quite nicely, almost reminiscent of the modern infographic craze that has been sweeping the design world. With any luck there are loads of these catalogues still around somewhere, as this stuff needs to preserved, it’s just too cool to let disappear.