Friday, 27 November 2015

The ultimate swipe file

The first Pentagram Papers keepsake.

The Pentagram Papers featured a selection of the first three letters of the alphabet.

A fascinating book that originally started out as the first issue of the Pentagram Papers in 1975.  Thompson and Davenport couldn't find a publisher for their book but the first three letters of the alphabet provided the ideal material as a printed keepsake for Pentagram's clients, eventually the book was published in 1980 by Bergstrom+Boyle a small London publisher.   I bought my copy back then and I've always enjoyed a browse through it over the years. 

The essence of the book is a collection of images that illustrate a word, for example G has gallows, games, games and battles, garden, garter, gate, general signs, giant, giraffe, girder each illustrated with one or more printed examples with a sort of rather large thumbnail.  The book's strength is that all the printed items are well designed with so many of them from the US and Europe in the fifties and sixties, a particularly rich period for graphic design creativity.

It's a marvel that the two authors managed to find such a wonderful variety of printed matter to illustrate the words and now thirty-five years later these pages can still provide plenty of creative stimulus for today's designers.  The great shame is that the book wasn't printed in color.

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