Good Design

For a change, let’s look at something which isn’t a poster.

Kathy Kavan’s post about Galt Toys design and branding (which I remember with great clarity from my own 70s childhood) led me to designer Ken Garland’s own website.  It’s a treasure trove of delights, like these Design magazine covers from 1958-60.

Design Magazine August 1958 Ken Garland design

Design Magazine April 1959 Ken Garland design

Design Magazine January 1960 Ken Garland design

It’s hard to imagine a government-sponsored quango (which the Council for Industrial Design was) producing anything as fresh and interesting as this now.

These covers for the Architectural Review meanwhile, from 1957 and 1959, still look irrepressibly modern.

cover for Architectural Review 1957

Architectural Review 1959 Ken Garland

David Carson himself would have been proud of these two.

But these last two aren’t very typical of Garland’s work which is, in the main, an understated and very British take on modernism.  Whatever you think the story of British modernist graphics is – or isn’t – there’s a moment in the 1960s where the UK takes on board the mainstream of European graphic thought and makes it mainstream.

Ken Garland committee of 100 poster 1961

Poster for Committee of 100, 1961

Designers like Garland also add something new to the modernist mix though.  There’s a lightness of touch and even a sense of humour which makes them distinctively British.

Galt Toys catalogue spread

But go and take a look for yourself, it’s an exemplary website and archive with lots of interesting thoughts about the designs and the process which led to them, as well as the images themselves.

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