Wednesday, 12:00pm
31 July 2013

Books received #2

After Butler’s Wharf from the RCA’s CWAD graduates, Vapourware, Tractor Boys, Map of Days and Abram Games’s Penguin covers

Delete: A Design History of Computer Vapourware (Bloomsbury, £24.99) recalls the many failed prototypes of early computing. Author Paul Atkinson clarifies the problematic term ‘vapourware’ and the marketing conventions that surround it, before taking a thematic look at unrealised examples of design. Ad campaigns, in their fully realised nonexistence, add further spin to this alternate reality.

Cover of Delete by Paul Atkinson.
Top: spread from Robert Hunter’s Map of Days.


Martin Bogren’s 60-page photobook Tractor Boys (Dewi Lewis Publishing, £25) captures a unique kind of fraught teenage existence behind the wheels of tractor-cars in a series of black and white images. Bogren breaks through the façade of youthful confidence with photographs of speed-obsessed teens in repose.

Tractor Boys.


Spread from Martin Bogren’s Tractor Boys.


Naomi Games paints an intimate picture of a less well known period in her late father’s graphic design career in Abram Games and Penguin Books (Penguin Collectors Society, £9). The small-format publication plots the short-lived ‘Penguin experiment’ into colour covers between 1956 and 1958, illustrated on the book’s later pages as full page reproductions.

Cover shows Games’s illustration for The Prevalence of Witches.


Cover designs by David Caplan, left and Hans Unger. Art direction by Abram Games, 1957-58.


Map of Days (Nobrow Press, £12.99) is a hardback graphic novel by illustrator Robert Hunter. The plot takes place inside a cherry wood grandfather clock where the central character, Richard, develops a relationship with the clock face who has a ‘hynoptic desire for the sun’.

Map of Days.


Spread from Map of Days.


Instead of the usual ‘greatest hits’ compilation of dissertation extracts, the 2013 graduates of the RCA’s Critical Writing in Art and Design MA have produced After Butler’s Wharf. Intended as ‘a collection of critical perspectives’ about this historically resonant London location, the hardback includes Alice Butler’s account of the 1975 Alternative Miss World, Tom Harrad’s witty description of Le Pont de la Tour and Joseph Taylor’s tale of freezing fire-fighters in 1931. Published by the RCA price £14.

After Butler’s Wharf. Design: Antonio Bertossi / Jörg Schwertfeger. Printed by Push, London.


Resident artists gather outside to watch the fire in A Block. Spread from After Butler’s Wharf, published by the Royal College of Art.


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, back issues and single copies of the latest issue. You can see what Eye 85 looks like at Eye before You Buy on Vimeo.