50’s
The Poster’s Third Dimension

The Poster’s Third Dimension

In 1890 the French painter Maurice Denis asserted: “remember that a painting – before it is a battle horse, a nude model, or some anecdote – is essentially a flat surface covered with colours assembled in a certain order”. If this reflection is transferred over to the understanding of a poster, then it is unsurprising...
Pla-Narbona: Letters as partitions

Pla-Narbona: Letters as partitions

“A chronicle and works by the draughtsman, engraver and sculptor Pla-Narbona” – with no reference to design – is the title of a publication that runs through Pla-Narbona’s career until 1974. As the same long title ran on it elaborated: “works from his beginnings to the present day, compiled, ordered, described and interpreted by Francesc...
Temas españoles (Spanish Matters): Verdú's covers

Temas españoles (Spanish Matters): Verdú’s covers

The magazine Temas españoles (Spanish Matters) was an instrument for disseminating Francoist thought. The content between its covers enables us to gain an understanding of the ideas that evolved during the dictatorship via a selection of relevant issues and the construction of an idiosyncratic imaginary. The two-tone covers belonging to the first four hundred editions...
Bechtold, “Destino (Destination)” Barcelona

Bechtold, “Destino (Destination)” Barcelona

Erwin Bechtold arrived in Barcelona in 1950, although, as Ricard Giralt Miracle wrote in 1993, more than simply arriving in Barcelona, he disembarked in Filograf (see previous posts), the graphic arts studio where this pioneer would print his and his clients’ work. Bechtold and Giralt Miracle crossed paths in careers bound to print and typography,...
The covers of Novelas y Cuentos (Novels and Stories)

The covers of Novelas y Cuentos (Novels and Stories)

Behind the powerful personality of the Osborne Bull figure, designed by Manolo Prieto in 1956, was a striking body of work which was of particular relevance to graphic design in Spain: the covers which, for over 15 years, were produced for the weekly publication Novelas y Cuentos (Novels and Stories) between 1940 and 1957. The...
Partierra’s Book Covers

Partierra’s Book Covers

As I focused on the mysterious figure of Joaquín Pertierra I discovered the legacy of a restless graphic artist who, while faithful to his era, also looked towards the future and whose work brought more question marks to the surface as I uncovered it. An illustrator by profession and both elusive and sporadic, he developed...
Before Penguin

Before Penguin

Edicions Proa, founded in 1928 in Badalona at a time of popular culture and athenaeums, is an exponent of the standard of Catalan publishing in the 1930s that came to the fore by way of an exhibition and the illustrated book: La propera festa del llibre serà de color taronja! Cinquanta anys del rellançament d’Edicions...
Spain on posters

Spain on posters

In 2005, the Division of Information, Documentaries and Publications from Spain’s Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade published a catalogue of official posters from Spanish tourism spanning the period between 1929 and 1959. This volume verifies how the promotion of tourism in Spain is not something recent, and, by the same token, it demonstrates contributions...
A sharp point

A sharp point

In 1995 the “American Pencil Collectors Society” was founded in the USA, bringing together an interesting group of writing instrument collectors primarily focused on the collection of graphite lead pencils. For a number of years now, I’ve been pleased to form part of this Association, which publishes the newsletter “The Pencil Collector” as the “Official...
'Arte Comercial' magazine, advertising and organization?

‘Arte Comercial’ magazine, advertising and organization?

“Arte Comercial” (Commercial Art) was one of the few examples in the Spanish publishing world of a journal specializing in the field of advertising. Founded in 1946 by Emeterio Melendreras, a professional that straddled the fields of advertising and design management, it included works by most of the graphic designers of the time: Manolo Prieto...
The El Corte Inglés pennant

The El Corte Inglés pennant

I remember the morning I began working as Art Director in the Publicity Department of El Corte Inglés as if it were yesterday. I was sneaking between drawing tables to introduce myself to my new Creative Director when an older man – white hair, smoking a cigar – asked me if I knew how to...
Ramón Calderón from London to Santander

Ramón Calderón from London to Santander

One of the attractive elements of running a blog on the characteristics of “Graphic Pioneers” is coming across a significant graphic work of which I was completly unaware. Thanks to the great help of Mario Crespo López to whom I’m sincerely grateful for the graphic images that are presented in this post, I´ve had the...