1 October 2020
Hamish Smyth’s wordmarks for Gaslit Nation and Bellingcat are memorable graphic identities for organisations that fight populism and disinformation with solid research and truth.
By John L. Walters
Hamish Smyth’s identity for the Gaslit Nation podcast is a smart piece of design for a project that is playing a part in the unravelling of Trump’s presidency, writes John L. Walters.
31 January 2020
In the early 1950s, Swiss designer Gérard Ifert walked the streets of Paris on quiet Sundays, taking pictures of the colourmen’s shopfronts
The ‘designer as photographer’ is a trope that has been much explored in articles, books and exhibitions, with photos by graphic designers as different in temperament and outlook as Rudy VanderLans, Nicolete Gray, Robert Brownjohn, Wojciech Zamecznik and Ken Garland, writes John L. Walters.
20 November 2019
The conference formerly known as ModMag gave magazine makers plenty to think about, and reasons to be optimistic
The ‘magCulture Live’ day of presentations by editors, art directors and publishers was one of the best magazine events I have ever attended, writes John L. Walters.
24 June 2019
Lucinda Rogers finds something rich and strange in the streets of New York. Her drawings will be the subject of a substantial book – if it gets the support it needs via crowdfunding
13 March 2019
Eye’s Type Tuesday about 21st-Century letterpress featured Double Dagger, The Counter Press and Erik Spiekermann. A splendid time was had by all
Erik Spiekermann opened his talk at Type Tuesday on 5 March 2019 with some ruminations on the subject of craft: ‘Craft, skill, trade, vocation: The human impulse to make something for its own sake, to do it as well as you can,’ writes John L. Walters.
20 November 2018
St Bride Library is looking for someone to take charge of its extraordinary archive
The ad looks almost mundane at first glance, tucked away on a site called lisjobnet.com, which is for ‘Library & Information’ jobs. Yet what it is advertising is one of the most crucial roles in type and design history: the job of Librarian at St Bride Printing Library in London, writes John L. Walters.
24 May 2018
ModMag takes Manhattan next Wednesday for a one-day celebration of magazine-making with Gail Bichler, Richard Turley, Emily Oberman and more
Anyone who has attended or taken part in London’s annual Modern Magazine conference will know the depth of Jeremy Leslie’s love for magazines, writes John L. Walters.
10 April 2018
Over the past decade, Eye magazine has not only survived but thrived
Ten years ago, on 10 April 2008, Eye became an independent magazine, owned by the people who make it, writes Eye editor John L. Walters.
25 February 2018
‘Rhythm & Reaction’ gets under the skin of a British love affair with American jazz
Jazz first came to Britain as a visual and cultural style – rather than as a musical form, writes John L. Walters.
27 November 2017
It’s always fun to win awards. But what do two wildly different ceremonies tell us about the state of magazine design, editing and publishing? By John L. Walters
Last week I attended two magazine awards ceremonies on two successive days. I don’t make a habit of this, but I was involved as a nominee in both the Stack Awards and those run by the BSME, the British Society of Magazine Editors, writes John L. Walters.
18 September 2017
The 2017 Folkestone Triennial turns this seaside town into an open-air gallery for a kind of applied conceptual art … with a graphic edge
Folkestone is hosting its fourth Triennial, a two-month-long festival of contemporary art that can be appreciated in the open air of this British seaside town in Kent, writes John L. Walters.
6 September 2017
The design and look of music – from classical CDs and rave culture to stock (library) album covers and jazz photography
Here are some musically inclined books that came to our attention in recent months.
25 July 2017
Ink soaks into paper as Daniel Eatock’s mark-making processes result in a riot of colour
Designer and artist Daniel Eatock has a good-natured but unswerving way of reducing things to their essence, writes John L. Walters.
16 June 2017
Design, illustration, animation and anecdotes at Here London 2017
Here London, It’s Nice That’s annual conference, has become an established fixture on the design calendar, with speakers from a range of ‘creative’ disciplines showing their work, entertaining an audience of professionals and students with anecdotes, videos and slide shows of career highlights writes John L. Walters.
1 June 2017
This year’s European Design Awards ceremony was held in the city of Porto, which is about to launch an international design biennale
Last weekend, designers from all over Europe converged on Porto for the European Design Awards (EDA) ceremony. The EDA has been running for the past decade, and now attracts entries from 34 countries, writes John L. Walters.
30 May 2017
A book of scrapbook pages gives new insights into the world of illustrator Edward Bawden
Designer-illustrator Edward Bawden is remembered for a prolific career that embraced posters, book covers, illustrations, murals and set design, writes John L. Walters.
17 January 2017
Unit Editions’ second book about Herb Lubalin zeroes in on his ‘expressive typography’ and his gifted collaborators
Unit Editions’ Herb Lubalin: Typographer is a slimmer, more compact volume than the publisher’s popular blockbusters on Supergraphics, Henrion and Lubalin himself, writes John L. Walters.
4 October 2016
A recent interview with the distinguished and prolific Milan designer, who died on 15 September 2016 at the age of 91.
10 March 2016
A ‘replica reissue’ of The Writing on the Wall’, designed by Pearce Marchbank, delivers a gritty slab of mid-1970s graffiti
The Writing on the Wall (Plain Crisp Books) is a recent, Kickstarter-financed ‘replica reissue’ of a cult book from four decades ago, writes John L. Walters.
24 February 2016
A new collection of Steve Hare’s writing demonstrates an erudite passion for the design and content of Penguin Books
The late Steve Hare (1950-2015) was one of those writers that every editor appreciates, writes John L. Walters.
30 September 2015
The curators of ‘The World Goes Pop’ have scoured the globe for overlooked and under-appreciated artists from a moment when art collided with the mass media
It is hard to dislike ‘The World Goes Pop’ (Tate Modern), with its mad visual assault on the senses, starting with Ushio Shinohara’s Doll Festival (1966) and finishing with Komar and Melamid’s mordant take-down of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Indiana, writes John L. Walters.
27 August 2015
A children’s picturebook about jazz musician Trombone Shorty brims with positive vibes
The story of children’s picturebook Trombone Shorty is a familiar one, writes John L. Walters.
19 August 2015
Thierry Noir channels the improvisatory spirit of Berlin in ‘Jazz’ at the Howard Griffin Gallery
Thierry Noir is the street artist’s street artist, painting outdoor surfaces (famously the Berlin Wall) all over the world for more than 30 years, adding colour, line and a quizzical cheerfulness to public spaces, writes John L. Walters.
29 June 2015
For its 160th anniversary, British newspaper The Daily Telegraph unveils a new masthead, crest and typefaces
Some news outlets have a hard time staying in business for more than a generation. British broadsheet daily The Daily Telegraph celebrates its 160th anniversary this week with a confident redesign that includes a new masthead, crest and bespoke typefaces, writes John L. Walters.
15 April 2015
Watercolours by Eric Ravilious at South London’s Dulwich Picture Gallery
With its verdant gardens, mausoleum (with sarcophaguses) and a smart tea-room, the Dulwich Picture Gallery seems more like a country town art centre than a London gallery. Yet its quirky contradictions and charm make it appropriate for an exhibition of watercolours by Eric Ravilious, writes John L. Walters.
13 February 2015
The catalogue for Glenn Ligon’s Come Out evokes the power and brutal claustrophobia of Steve Reich’s 1966 tape composition, first made to raise legal expenses for the Harlem Six.
The catalogue for Glenn Ligon’s Come Out is a picture book full of words, based on a piece of music made of speech, writes John L. Walters.
18 September 2014
Two 21st-century letterpress projects breathe new life into this arcane, antiquated but much-loved method of mark-making
The LDF’s opening graphic weekend featured plenty of stimulating events and fascinating displays, with workshops, movies (Lost Highway), demonstrations, talks (Paula Scher, Irma Boom), David David’s Carousel Wall in the tunnel entrance, and Barber & Osgerby’s vertiginous Double Space – huge rotating mirrors – in the Raphael Gallery, writes John L Walters.
15 July 2014
Milton Glaser recalls working with an inspirational client – the great New York restaurateur Joe Baum (1920-98). Interview by John L. Walters
New York designer Milton Glaser has long been associated with design for food and drink, from his restaurant identities (Rainbow Room, Aurora) to his label and logo designs for Brooklyn Beer.
8 July 2014
Naomi Games profiles the life and work of her father Abram Games in this recent book from the Antique Collectors’ Club
Flaubert once wrote that when one writes the biography of a friend or relative, one should do it as if taking revenge on that person’s behalf, writes John L. Walters
20 December 2013
Eye’s panel checks out the taste of Helvetica, Impact and Comic Sans (as cooked up by Sarah Hyndman)
Designer Sarah Hyndman is known for her Type Tasting workshops – popular events at Pick Me Up and London Design Festival this year. For Hyndman’s latest project, A Taste of Type, she has reversed the approach by asking, ‘what does type taste like?’
18 December 2013
A loud new book pays tribute to the Colby Poster Printing Company of LA and their clients, from artists to junk dealers
This new book is a riotous feast of posters produced in recent decades by the Colby Poster Printing Company, which shut its doors for good at the end of 2012, writes John L. Walters.
12 November 2013
Despite its vague theme of ‘The fluidity in-between …’, the Integrated2013 conference in Antwerp was sharp and entertaining
The biannual Integrated conference organised by Hugo Puttaert, can seem bewilderingly complex at first glance, writes John L. Walters.
30 October 2013
Graphic Renaissance man Dave McKean sings two of his Nine Lives and launches Sandman Overture at Foyles’ 3rd floor gallery
Dave McKean is a prolific illustrator, film director, animator, designer and self-publisher – the bearded Renaissance man of British comic art, writes John L. Walters.
23 October 2013
Last few days to catch the exhibition ‘Romek Marber: Graphics’ at the Minories in Colchester.
If you live within a few hours of Colchester in Essex, I strongly recommend a visit to the ‘Romek Marber: Graphics’ exhibition, which runs until Saturday 26 October 2013, writes John L. Walters.
22 August 2013
If you have an interest in the intersection of sound and visual culture
and you’re anywhere near London before next Sunday, I strongly recommend a visit to the Calvert 22 gallery in Shoreditch, writes John L. Walters.
8 August 2013
You’ve seen that face before. But why is Jeanne Moreau (as seen in La Notte) staring soulfully from the cover of Eye 85?
The cover of the current issue, Eye 85, has attracted lots of (largely welcome) attention in recent weeks, writes editor John L. Walters.
12 July 2013
Brooklyn Babylon, a multimedia spectacular by Darcy James Argue and Danijel Žeželj, raises the roof at the Holland Festival
In the critic’s lexicon, there are few terms more problematic than ‘multimedia’, writes John L. Walters.
19 June 2013
London’s Estorick Collection shows the work of Giorgio Casali, the photographer who framed Domus’s modernist dream
The Estorick Collection is one of London’s smaller galleries, just a short walk from Highbury and Islington (a node of the shiny new London Overground) but not on many tourists’ art tours, writes John L. Walters.
14 November 2012
Matt Willey’s sumptuous brochure for UK radio station JazzFM evokes a golden age of magazine and LP sleeve art direction.
Jazz and radio came of age around the same time, the 1920s, when ‘physical music’ was clunky and expensive, writes John L. Walters.
3 October 2012
London Transport’s spare posters go under the hammer at Christie’s tomorrow.
‘Of course it's not about graphic design,’ said my friend, glancing at the high proportion of besuited viewers. ‘It’s about money!’
26 July 2012
Editorial designers get into the fast lane to deliver print for the Games
One big, but largely unsung design challenge of the 2012 Olympic Games has been the print production and design of 55 different publications, from the 196-page, perfect-bound Official Programme to an Olympics daily, the first of which is due to roll off the presses early on Saturday morning, writes John L. Walters.
3 July 2012
Commercial Type’s Christian Schwartz & Paul Barnes – interviewed in Eye 82
‘There has been typography on the Web for its entire existence, because there are words, and where there are words there is typography … Some people believe that there is going to be a radical change in the process of reading because of webfonts. Actually, no.’
21 June 2012
When Mati Klarwein’s hyperactive paintings stole the psychedelic show.
Mati Klarwein is best known for a handful of album covers in the very early 1970s, a time when his exotic, erotically charged and quasi-mystical images stole the psychedelic show, writes John L. Walters.
12 June 2012
A French magazine that put a new light (and spin) on musical multimedia
This June issue of French magazine Sonorama includes reports from the Cannes film festival, writes John L. Walters.
29 May 2012
This Emigre type specimen celebrates a lost era of LPs and recording studios
I once heard someone dismiss a former boyfriend with the put-down, ‘he’s the sort of person who files his records in alphabetical order.’ Which prompted me to think: ‘what other sort of person is there?’ writes John L. Walters.
11 May 2012
Glass & Wilson’s Einstein on the Beach liberates the space-time continuum.
Though I missed the UK premiere* of Einstein on the Beach by Robert Wilson and Philip Glass (nearly 36 years after its first performance in Avignon), reports John L. Walters, the performance I witnessed ran flawlessly without a break, clocking in around four hours 20 minutes, and earning a standing ovation from the packed house.
27 April 2012
data.anatomy – Ryoji Ikeda’s new audiovisual installation in Berlin
Ryoji Ikeda’s work quivers somewhere between electronic music, digital art, installation and performance, writes John L. Walters. He uses raw materials – both visual and sonic – that seem plucked from the innermost depths of contemporary gadgetry: tiny clicks and flashes that are amplified to colossal proportions.
19 April 2012
David Wild’s Jazzpaths is a personal and poetic ‘photomemento’
David Wild’s Jazzpaths is labelled a ‘photomemento’. It is a carefully printed hardback collection of mid-1960s impressions, in images and prose, formed during the author’s two-year stint in the United States. It is closer to poetry or oral history, however, than a conventional autobiography or photobook.
25 February 2012
Mariscal’s full length movie Chico & Rita is in the running for an Oscar
As this weekend’s 84th Academy Awards ceremony brings the season of movie awards madness to a glittery (and/or cringe-inducing) climax, it’s good to note that a leading European designer-illustrator is in the running for an Oscar.
2 February 2012
Good, bad and ugly cover ‘tributes’: a new spin on the death of music design.
The album cover may have lost its mojo as far as contemporary culture is concerned, but its classic era (from Blue Note to 4AD, say) maintains a powerful grip on the imaginations of music-loving designers, writes John L. Walters.
26 January 2012
Getting ready for the hyperbolic new Design Museum in Albertopolis.
The new Design Museum, slated to open in 2014, is cause for celebration in London’s design community, writes John L. Walters.
4 October 2011
High-octane graphic design in Barcelona for AGI Open
AGI Open is a high-octane assemblage of graphic designers with international reputations, performing to a packed gathering in Barcelona’s Coliseum Theatre.
16 September 2011
Buzzwords and the inspiration of improv at the Brighton codefest
If you were to play buzz-word bingo at Brighton’s ‘Flash on the Beach’, the squares for ‘awesome’, ‘pumped’ and ‘stoked’ would fill up pretty quickly, writes John L. Walters. A wordcloud of all three days’ presentations would bloom with the same words, plus ‘HTML5’, ‘agile’, ‘responsive’, ‘Molehill’ and the inevitable ‘clients’, ‘schedules’ and ‘budgets’.
20 March 2011
David Gentleman talks about his identity design for British Steel
The most recent issue of Eye includes a Reputations interview with David Gentleman, whose career spans nearly six decades, and whose work includes illustration, wood engraving, protest graphics, posters, books, stamps and identity design.
9 November 2010
Time to find some new, meaningful associations between music + design.
Think about design for music, and record covers spring to mind, writes John Walters. (See ‘Sound and vision’ in Eye 76, the music design special issue, opening spread below.) That’s understandable: graphic design has borne witness to an extraordinary canon of independent work over the past 70 years.
6 May 2010
Is Chris Ware’s rejected cover for Fortune 500 right on the money?
The world of graphic design is full of images that never were, writes John L. Walters, buried in blogs, and the footnotes to design or cultural history.
3 February 2010
Building Sound: can a website work with just speech, space and colour?
Here’s an interesting sound-based concept – a website that has no type or lettering whatsoever, other than the URL.
19 November 2009
Breathing life into the dying embers of letterpress … to light graphic fireworks
The great thing about spoken tributes, when they’re done well, is that they give the speakers a chance to say nice things they would never say face to face, writes John L. Walters.
11 November 2009
Your chance to vote for the best of 2009’s vinyl sleeve art
Formats come and formats go (and MP3s are going the way of cassettes now that we have room for ALEs), but vinyl has had a surprisingly long afterlife, writes John L. Walters.
30 October 2009
iwant’s illustrative identity for the London Jazz Festival
Album covers may be a dying art, but design for live music is thriving, writes John L. Walters, and iwant’s identity – brochures, posters, launch invitations (top) and floor vinyl (below), for next month’s London Jazz Festival is an example of what can be achieved when imaginative illustration and design meets a sympathetic music client.
22 September 2008
Does ‘Spin’ reduce graphic design to the level of art on a wall?
The Spin exhibition is small, free, easy to find (if you’re in or near London) and won’t take up too much of your time, writes John L. Walters.
5 September 2008
Graphic Rolling Stones artefacts are saved for the nation
It began with a letter – addressed to the designer at the Royal College of Art, writes John L. Walters.