Mum, we will miss you

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Betty Russell, 26 December 1931 – 25 March 2020.

Looking back at looking forward

I am privileged to have had an art school education at the (then) London College of Printing (LCP) with typography tutors including Brian Grimbly and Anthony Froschaug. Recently I was interested to discover the First things first manifesto from just over fifty years ago, they are two of the 22 who signed it. A pretty good description of the LCP course where, much later, I was their student – BA (honours) Media Production Design.

First things firstFirst things first – a manifesto

We, the undersigned, are graphic designers, photographers and students who have been brought up in a world in which the techniques and apparatus of advertising have persistently been presented to us as the most lucrative, effective and desirable means of using our talents. We have been bombarded with publications devoted to this belief, applauding the work of those who have flogged their skill and imagination to sell such things as:

cat food, stomach powders, detergent, hair restorer, striped toothpaste, aftershave lotion, beforeshave lotion, slimming diets, fattening diets, deodorants, fizzy water, cigarettes, roll-ons, pull-ons and slip-ons.

By far the greatest effort of those working in the advertising industry are wasted on these trivial purposes, which contribute little or nothing to our national prosperity.

In common with an increasing number of the general public, we have reached a saturation point at which the high pitched scream of consumer selling is no more than sheer noise. We think that there are other things more worth using our skill and experience on. There are signs for streets and buildings, books and periodicals, catalogues, instructional manuals, industrial photography, educational aids, films, television features, scientific and industrial publications and all the other media through which we promote our trade, our education, our culture and our greater awareness of the world.

We do not advocate the abolition of high pressure consumer advertising: this is not feasible. Nor do we want to take any of the fun out of life. But we are proposing a reversal of priorities in favour of the more useful and more lasting forms of communication. We hope that our society will tire of gimmick merchants, status salesmen and hidden persuaders, and that the prior call on our skills will be for worthwhile purposes. With this in mind we propose to share our experience and opinions, and to make them available to colleagues, students and others who may be interested.

Signed: Edward Wright, Geoffrey White, William Slack, Caroline Rawlence, Ian McLaren, Sam Lambert, Ivor Kamlish, Gerald Jones, Bernard Higton, Brian Grimbly, John Garner, Ken Garland, Anthony Froshaug, Robin Fior, Germano Facetti, Ivan Dodd, Harriet Crowder, Anthony Clift, Gerry Cinamon, Robert Chapman, Ray Carpenter, Ken Briggs

The Eden project

The Eden project, Cornwall is a place we have always wanted to visit, and we have been in the near vicinity most summers over the last ten years. In the end it was just Deirdre, Harvey and myself who visited on a day of sunshine and showers. Dogs are allowed in the grounds but not into Sir Nicholas Grimshaw’s marvellous biomes, which are the main attraction, so we had to take turns to go in or to mind our boy. The grounds are beautifully planted, and when Deirdre was in the biomes, I was able to see most of the hillside gardens while being pulled in all directions by Harvey.

Click on any image below to see all of the photos enlarged as a slide show.

Loving Lato

Lato helloI really like Lato – the font I am using here for my website. A humanist Sans very much in the mould of Monotype’s Gill or New Johnston but with all the niceties required of a font these days. A good range of weights (nine!) and ligatures, added to recently with a variety of glyphs, and it’s FREE – made available for print and web by the tyPoland foundry and by Google fonts. The designer himself, Łukasz Dziedzic of tyPoland seems to be quite a character too, describing Lato as “Male and female, serious but friendly. With the feeling of the Summer”.

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