A small ‘M’ modern master

Philip Grushkin: A Designer’s Archive

By Paul Shaw
Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Inc., $25

The history of graphic design has many gaps and omissions, whether through shifting tastes, technology and fashion or straightforward neglect. Philip Grushkin (1921-98) was a prolific mid-century book jacket designer – for Knopf, Random House and others – whose work is rarely mentioned in the graphic design histories and anthologies that cover his era.

One reason for this, suggests Paul Shaw in his book Philip Grushkin: A Designer’s Archive (Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Inc., $25), is that Grushkin was modern with a lowercase ‘m’ rather than a Modernist. Shaw writes: ‘Grushkin … forged his own brand of modernism, a unique mixture of bold typographic hand-lettering, dynamic background patterns, vibrant colors, and abstract symbolism that owed nothing to the work of Rand, Lustig, or … Herbert Bayer.’


Paul Shaw, Philip Grushkin: A Designer’s Archive.


John L. Walters, Eye editor, London

Read the full version in Eye no. 88 vol. 22 2014


Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues. You can see what Eye 88 looks like at Eye before you buy on Vimeo.

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