Joe Pearson launched Design For Today a year ago, a publishing house that specializes in well-designed, limited edition books and ephemera from contemporary illustrators. The company’s Instagram feed and general aesthetic is a treasure trove for lovers of mid-century design, vintage Penguin books and lithography, and Joe’s collection of old and new printed paraphernalia makes frequent appearances on his feed.
Seeing as he’s such an avid collector, we asked Joe to select three magazines from his shelf for us: an old issue, a new issue, and a detail that he finds especially great.
An old issue: Puffin Post
I scour for vintage design magazines from the 30s onwards and could have picked any number of these to feature. More recently though I’ve been researching back issues of The Puffin Post, the house magazine of Puffin’s book club that was launched in 1967. At it’s peak the club had over 400,000 members and broke the barrier between author and reader with hundreds, if not thousands, of Puffin events, signings, and even Puffin holidays.
The club was the brainchild of Kaye Webb, who probably did more for children’s literature than anyone, either before or since. Her in-house illustrator was Jill McDonald, a hugely underrated illustrator, and I’ll be publishing a monograph on her work in 2017.
A new issue: Creative Review
I was a child of the sixties and music was the all-consuming passion with magazines providing the lifeline to the revolution. I bought Melody Maker, then Rolling Stone, Cream, I.T., Zigzag, OZ, Frendz, just about anything I could lay my hands on that looked interesting, although much of it wasn’t in retrospect. Then, as Punk arrived I’d buy Sniffin’ Glue and other fanzines from Mark Perry in the basement of Kensington High Street and, as I was promoting bands in London pubs at the time, these fanzines were devoured to find the latest news of gigs and bands. Times, to quote Dylan, change and now the magazines I buy tend to be design related such as Eye and Creative Review. They both have strong visual imagery, with well-researched articles that both reference the past and highlight current good design.
And another thing: Design Magazine
This is from the cover of the July 1957 issue of Design Magazine. It was designed by Tom Eckersley, one of the great poster designers of the mid-century and commissioned by Ken Garland. A perfect trinity of magazine, editor and designer. Ken Garland progressed from Design Magazine to establish Ken Garland Associates who became responsible for the branding and design of Galt Toys during the late 60s, and onwards. Another wonderful world of playfulness and design.