anonymous designers

Recent articles about anonymous designers

Across the waves

Issue 105, Autumn 2023


In 2020, New York designer Roger Bova came across a large collection of ‘QSL’ cards at…

Call and response

Issue 105, Autumn 2023


This hardback book is the catalogue for the 2022-2023 Letterform Archive exhibition of the same name…

The film poster as freeze-frame

Issue 105, Autumn 2023


Moving Pictures Painted: 200 Posters from the Golden Age of Egyptian Cinema (CentreCentre, £30) lifts the…

Data storytelling in late Victorian London

Issue 101, Summer 2021


The design community is currently fascinated by data storytelling. Everyone wants to design visual tales…

Encyclopedic ambitions

Issue 99, Autumn 2019


English-language historical surveys of illustration have been undertaken on both sides of the Atlantic from…

Party people

Issue 96, Spring 2018


‘Made In North Korea’ (House of Illustration, London, 26 March–13 May 2018) is a window…

Duck the issue

Issue 96, Spring 2018


‘Hope to Nope’ is an exploration of graphic design’s involvement in an escalating period of political unrest.

We Made This: Technical challenge

Issue 95, Winter 2017


Sarah Snaith talks to Briar Levit, director of a new film on the history of graphic design

Design culture with constraints

Issue 92, Summer 2016


Until recently, everyday commercial graphic design from East Germany was largely absent from the cultural…

Making sense of a complex ideal

Issue 92, Summer 2016


Simplification is an ideal we think we aspire to, whether we are talking about the…

I am a poster

Issue 92, Summer 2016


David Crowley, curator of ‘The Poster Remediated’ at the Warsaw International Poster Biennale, examines some of the relationships that exist between posters and the human body

James Mosley: A life in objects

Issue 90, Summer 2015


Through his ideas, collecting and dogged research, the former St Bride librarian has shown that printing history can be both lively and opinionated. The world of typography owes him a great debt

Words and pictures talking


Canongate has reissued John Berger and Jean Mohr’s A Fortunate Man, about Gloucestershire doctor John Sassall. How does it compare with the 1967 original? Photo Critique by Rick Poynor

Nostalgia for the Carnation Revolution

Issue 89, Winter 2014


The exhibition ‘Freedom of Image’, which was spread throughout Porto between May and September 2014…

The retoucher’s accidental art

Issue 88, Summer 2014


The reworked press photos now being discarded are unique objects and compellingly strange images. Raynal Pellicer has a collection

Comic cuts

Issue 87, Spring 2014


Andreu Balius collects Spanish meat papers, which are typically covered in graphic images of animals who often relish their tragic end under the butcher’s knife

A Monotype timeline

Issue 84, Autumn 2012


A selected, chronological list of notable events in the long, complex history of Monotype

Stanley Morison: Changing the Times

Issue 84, Autumn 2012


In 1929 Monotype’s typographical adviser, Stanley Morison, published an article critical of the design of The Times. He was invited to submit ideas, and this led to a redesign of the paper in 1932, for which he developed Times New Roman. Here he recounts the process.

Deep in the Monotype archive

Issue 84, Autumn 2012


A wide selection of Monotype’s drawings, artworks, publications and vintage photographs spread across a 40-page feature.

Pages from the library of libraries

Issue 84, Autumn 2012


Graphic design, devoted as it is to re-framing text and image, thrives as an object…

Dan Dare, Bunty and all their pals

Issue 83, Summer 2012


James Chapman states his intentions openly: to trace the development of the British comics industry…

Crash covers

Issue 52, Summer 2004


J. G. Ballard’s novel resists attempts to summarise it with a single image

We hardly knew you

Issue 42, Winter 2001


Street-corner merchandising tries to remember the twin towers

Punk uncovered: an unofficial history of provincial opposition

Issue 33, Autumn 1999


British punk gave a sound, a voice and a visual currency to the disenfranchised and remote. Overlooked, uncelebrated and difficult – the output of the anonymous artworkers who packaged the vinyl spewed out by punk’s first waves captured the oppositional (and occasionally political) spirit of the time. By Russell Bestley and Ian Noble.

Surface wreckage

Issue 34, Winter 1999


Three books showing accidental collages of torn posters an other random marks revive interest in a style of image-making drawn from the city streets

Self-aggrandising, self-satisfied

Issue 38, Winter 2000


Brochures: Frost, Push, Elliott Peter Earls, the Office of CC …

Messy medium

Issue 64, Summer 2007


Social media is shifting message-making away from mass media and into the hands of multiple users.

Lost worlds

Issue 55, Spring 2005


Vernacular photography. Innocence regained? Or just another kind of fiction?

Your system sucks!

Issue 8, Autumn 1992


The flight from Modernism left a yearning for graphics that were rough, real, unaffected and believable. At some point, though, the downtown poster hardened into a convention

The meaning of money

Issue 5, Winter 1991


Bank notes change hands without so much as a second glace – a daily act of faith that says much about our belief in their value. Yet these intricate artefacts are complex carriers of meaning. What makes a banknote look like a banknote and how does the global graphic language of money communicate its message?

Club-runner graphics

Issue 5, Winter 1991


In the mid to late 1980s we would be out every night at some club…

Temple of type

Issue 2, Winter 1990


St Bride Library is one of the world’s best sources of information about type design and typography. Now it is under threat

Are you sure you need that new logo?

Issue 10, Autumn 1993


Graphic designers fill the world with a Babel of signs. Is it time we took them away again? By Ken Garland

Recent blog posts about anonymous designers

Kitty kitty bang bang

6 February 2024

An new exhibition in London examines the irresistible power of kawaii, or ‘cuteness’
You enter ‘Cute’ at Somerset House through a gallery of AI kitten images created by Graphic…

Patriotic rubbish

22 May 2023
Brand madness, Critical path, Photography, Visual culture

Metaphors – even unintentional ones – can deliver a powerful critique. Nigel Ball inspects the flag-strewn waste in UK streets

The flag has become a marketing tool, soon to become litter poking out of a bin …

Type for survival

15 May 2023
Critical path, Design history, Technology, Typography

How type design is helping to save Indigenous Canadian languages from extinction. Will Novosedlik reports

English-speaking designers take it for granted that every typeface will be available in their language …

Graphic design live #9

15 January 2023
Design history, Graphic design, Illustration, Posters, Visual culture, Events and exhibitions

Adana in London; Marclay in Paris; revolutionary graphics from Mexico and Germany in Los Angeles; and label art from Ireland in Dublin
Here are some January 2023 events highlights for your diaries. To stay up to date with…

Books received #47

22 September 2021
Book design, Design history, Graphic design, Posters, Visual culture

The IBM Poster Program; This is What Democracy Looked Like; Flag Waves
Here is a selection of titles that caught our attention in recent weeks. Though many…

Walking in a nuclear winter land

13 December 2019
Book design, Design history, Graphic design, Illustration, Information design

A new book recalls a time when civil authorities urged citizens to prepare for a threat from the East. By Andrew Robertson
The book Nuclear War in the UK, already in its second printing, has been a…

At your service

15 October 2019
Design education, Design history, Reviews, Typography

Armin Hofmann’s Graphic Design Manual. A review by Alex Cameron
A reproduction of Armin Hofmann’s poster, Giselle, designed for the Basel Open Air Theatre in…

Drawing up Modern man

4 December 2018
Design history, Graphic design, Illustration, Information design, Visual culture

Neurath and Kahn – the impresarios of early twentieth-century infographics. Review of Image Factories. Infographics 1920-1945
Image Factories. Infographics 1920-1945’s humble appearance belies its contents – a wealth of precious knowledge…

Invisible women in Australian graphic design

4 July 2018
Book design, Critical path, Design education, Design history, Graphic design, Illustration

The ‘afFEMation’ project throws new light on influential women in Australian design history. Jane Connory explains her multifaceted project
The afFEMation project stems from my belief that designers included in the history of Australian…

Great display in Harlem

21 March 2018
Design history, Graphic design, Magazines, Photography, Posters, Visual culture

Inspiring exhibitions at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture illustrate the dynamic power of graphic design. By Robert Newman
If, like me, you’ve been both inspired and entertained by the cultural moment that the…

Books received #30

6 November 2017
Book design, Illustration, Music design, Reviews, Visual culture

This Is Me, Full Stop., Jonny Hannah, Hi-Fi Living, Sardon’s Stampography and drawings of UFOs
Here is yet another selection of books that caught our attention in recent weeks and…

Characters in search of an emoji

6 May 2017
Design education, Technology, Type Tuesday, Visual culture

Can emojis help people with serious difficulties in communication and self-expression? Katie Baggs is on a mission to find the ‘emoji gaps’
For Eye’s quarterly Type Tuesday on 7 March 2017, themed ‘Fists, fleurons & emojis’, I…

Ghosts of designbots yet to come

21 December 2016
Critical path, Design education, Graphic design, Technology

Automated graphic design and the rise of robot creatives – Francisco Laranjo files a critical report from the perspective of Christmas 2025
From our perspective here in 2025, it all seems inevitable, writes Francisco Laranjo. But maybe…

Fileteado Porteño – past and present

7 July 2016
Design history, Illustration, Visual culture

A vernacular folk art has become synonymous with the visual identity of Buenos Aires. Gustavo Ferrari explains this extraordinary craft
Fileteado porteño is a traditional Argentinean artform, which began as simple decoration on the trade…

What design didn’t do

30 June 2016
Critical path, Graphic design, Information design, Posters

As a designer I feel guilty, says Marina Willer. Could we have done more to stop Brexit?
Twenty years ago, I chose to move from Brazil to London because it is the…

Forging a new society

28 June 2016
Design history, Graphic design, Illustration, Reviews, Visual culture

Children’s picturebooks from Soviet Russia. Clare Walters reviews A New Childhood at the House of Illustration
Anyone interested in Russian graphic design and illustration of the early twentieth century, or in…

More design for eating

7 January 2016
Design history, Food design, Illustration, Visual culture

Menu Design in America looks back at more than a century of visual and culinary history
There is something very satisfying about a menu. Whether it be the cutout of a…

City of signs

15 July 2015
Typography, Visual culture

Artist Alida Sayer witnesses a collision of ancient and hyper-modern in Andong, South Korea
The city of Andong, though widely considered the bastion of ‘traditional’ Korea, possesses a distinctively…


2 June 2015
Critical path, Design history, Illustration, Visual culture

An archive of historical, ‘aw shucks’ clip art shows a clipped version of history, says Steven McCarthy
One afternoon about fifteen years ago, my University of Minnesota office phone rang, writes Steven…

Accidental art sale

10 April 2015
Photography, Visual culture

Haunting, retouched press photos from the collection of Raynal Pellicer are on display in a Paris gallery until late June
Raynal Pellicer’s collection of retouched press photos is on display at Galerie Argentic in Paris…

Codex lives on as a book

12 March 2015
Book design, Design history, Graphic design, Typography

The Eternal Letter, edited by Paul Shaw, was launched at the Type Directors Club in New York
Last month MIT Press launched the book The Eternal Letter: Two Millennia of the Classical…

Beer signs in the grain belt

13 January 2015
Food design, Graphic design, Type Tuesday, Typography, Visual culture

Water, grain and time converge at the source of the Mississippi in Minnesota. Steven McCarthy tastes the typefaces and signs that brand his local beers
Minnesota has abundant quantities of beer’s two main ingredients: water and grain, writes Steven McCarthy…

Books received #11

7 November 2014
Graphic design, Photography, Typography, Visual culture

Paul Graham, Rian Hughes, Modern Toss, The Art of Noir and Nude’s take on underground graphics
Here are a few books that have caught our attention in recent weeks. Paul Graham’s…

The trade that lost its way

14 May 2014
Book design, Critical path

UK book printing is in trouble, says Francis Atterbury. The trade makes truly awful books, while the Private Press lacks content.
There’s a wave of technological revolution hitting the printing industry as new technology and new…

Graphic protests inspire laughter and hope

28 March 2014
Critical path, Graphic design, New media, Technology, Visual culture

In the run-up to the Turkish elections, designers satirise the actions of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Report by Gülizar Çepoğlu.
A deluge of satirical poster designs and artworks have become a powerful form of protest…

Typographic freak-out

25 March 2014
Graphic design, Technology, Typography, Visual culture

Content Aware typography makes Adobe’s software ‘fail’ in the most interesting way
Content Aware Fill first appeared in Adobe Photoshop CS5, released in 2010, writes Tom Harrad…

Even further beyond Beck

16 September 2013
Critical path, Design history, Graphic design, Information design, Reviews

Extended review: Rob Waller takes a closer look at Underground Maps Unravelled by psychologist Maxwell Roberts
Harry Beck’s underground map has to be the most celebrated and discussed instance of information…

Two sides of propaganda

28 June 2013
Design history, Graphic design, Posters, Reviews

A new exhibition recounts the history of political persuasion, from coins to tweets.
The British Library’s exhibition, ‘Propaganda: Power and Persuasion’, shows a 1982 political cartoon that was…

Sinhala’s voluptuous letters

26 June 2013
Design education, Design history, Posters, Typography, Visual culture

A collaboration – between Columbo, in Sri Lanka, and Falmouth, in the UK – explores the typographic possibilities of the Sinhalese abugida
The orthography of the Sinhalese, one of the peoples of the beautiful island of Sri…

Museum of lights

15 May 2013
Graphic design, Photography, Reviews, Visual culture

Thomas E. Rinaldi’s New York Neon documents a cityscape sprawling with the remnants of illuminated…

Banham’s Melbourne letters

26 March 2013
Design history, Reviews, Type Tuesday, Typography, Visual culture

The first thing you think on flipping through Characters is: Wow, I wouldn’t mind living…

A dentist’s unerring eye

17 January 2013
Design history, Graphic design, Posters

Dr Hans Sachs was the poster aficionado who launched Das Plakat. By Graham Twemlow
Graham Twemlow writes: A large part of the Hans Sachs poster collection is about to…

Ladies’ unmentionables

15 January 2013
Illustration, Information design, Typography, Visual culture

Shelley Gruendler is fascinated by the graphic language of feminine hygiene disposal bags
Twenty years ago, while in my second year at design school, I pilfered my first…

Hand-made in Cambodia

21 November 2012
Illustration, Typography, Visual culture

Painted signs enliven the streetscapes of Kratie, a sleepy provincial capital in North East Cambodia.
Cambodia is a country awash with hand-painted signs, writes Sam Roberts. They form an integral…

What are they thinking?

5 November 2012
Graphic design, Illustration, Posters, Visual culture

These unique, plebeian graphic executions – ephemeral, often questionable lawn signs – embody the US Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of free speech, says Mike Kippenhan.
In the United States, automobile bumper stickers and lawn signs are the preferred way of…

Smoke bomb

20 August 2012
Graphic design, Information design, Visual culture

Australia’s decision to ‘unbrand’ tobacco packaging demands more debate, says Alex Cameron
Last week I woke to the news that cigarette packaging is to be ‘un-designed’ as…

The notes may be fabricated

31 July 2012
Design history, Graphic design, Illustration, Visual culture

Alternative currencies show that money is just an idea that can be redesigned. By Livia Lima
We live in an age when it is difficult to trust our banks, writes Livia…

Design for drugs in NYC

7 October 2011
Design history, Graphic design, Illustration, Posters, Typography, Visual culture

Exhibition will explore the graphic world of pharmaceutical products
A new exhibition at The Herb Lubalin Study Center at The Cooper Union will explore…

Lost in space

28 July 2011
Design education, Graphic design, Information design, Visual culture

Why do architects believe their wordless buildings are easy to read?
‘Sign designers are convinced that architects don’t like them,’ writes Rob Waller, in his provocative…

Comic serif

11 August 2010
Illustration, Magazines, Typography, Visual culture

How Punch magazine turned table talk into cartoons and typography
The British Library have just published a book that explores the inner world of Victorian…