9 September 2010
Romek Marber bears witness to one of the great crimes of the past century
‘Survivor’, Rick Poynor’s latest Critique on the Eye website, is about Romek Marber’s recently published holocaust memoir No Return. This is not a book about graphic design, but its significance for designers and design historians is clear from the name.
Marber is the inventor of the famous 1960s cover grid for Penguin Books, and contributed many striking paperback covers to the imprint, working as a freelance designer-illustrator when Germano Facetti was the in-house art director.
Poynor visited Marber prior to completing the article ‘Penguin crime’ for Eye 53 – the latter’s cover designs for the green crime series are still treasured by Penguin collectors and enthusiasts.
There’s another graphic design connection: No Return: Journeys in the Holocaust is published by a new imprint run by fellow designer Hollis. You can buy the book direct from fiveleaves.co.uk/richardhollis along with two more books: Susan Alliston: Poems and Journals 1960-1969 and Memories of Ted Hughes 1952-1963. (The mail-order service is swift and efficient, in our experience.)
Poynor concludes his Critique with these words about Marber’s postwar career:
‘In 1951, Marber began his graphic design studies at St Martin’s School of Art; he completed them at the RCA. There could be no return to Poland.
‘Marber is a man of dignity, strength and resilience; he bears witness to the outrages he saw as a teenager without a hint of self-pity. Rebuilding himself after years of unimaginable hardship and horror, design has been an affirmation of life.’
You can read Poynor’s ‘Penguin crime’ article about Romek Marber in Eye 53, the ‘Brand madness’ issue, and Christopher Wilson’s Reputations interview with Richard Hollis in Eye 59. See also ‘The image as evidence’, Hollis’s article about Germano Facetti in Eye 29.
Eye magazine is available from all good design bookshops and at the online Eye shop, where you can order subscriptions, single issues and back issues. Student subscriptions are half price, see bit.ly/EyeStudentOffer.