Paul Harpin has been responsible for the design of over 300 magazines as creative director at publishers including Haymarket, Redwood, Centaur and Times magazines in Singapore. Now he’s gone back to his roots — design consultancy — with a new design studio with Geoff Waring, and is also a partner in the London Type Foundry.
Paul at work in 1979. ‘There were no screens, computers when I started work, just paper, loads of pens, scalpels, illustrators and photographer’s cards on the wall, some glue, manuscripts to read and mark up for the typesetter and a phone’.
We asked him to select three items from what remains of his magazine collection — the majority of which has been donated to the Hyman Archive.
A new issue
I’m enjoying designing typefaces, and I must praise two new type design magazines that really excite me — I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of their new issues. They are the terrific TypeNotes from FontSmith, with creative direction by Jason Smith himself and the design is by the talented David Marshall and Elizabeth Ellis from The Counter Press. And — I also love the new large format letterpress magazine Double Dagger — designed, printed and published by Pat Randle of Nomad Letterpress, and Nick Loaring of The Print Project. It’s a real inky treat.
An old issue
Well I need three here, sorry — Firstly, Neue Grafik magazine was my first inspiration at art college in Leeds. It was published by a Swiss graphic design collective, which included Joseph Müller Brockmann and Hans Neuburg. They made eighteen issues between 1958 and 1965. Blimey — I was so serious as a student! I wrote my thesis on “The Influence of Swiss Graphic Design on the West Coast of America”. It was all about the Swiss influence on a number of San Francisco designers: Harry Murphy & Friends, Michael Vanderbyl and Stephanie Furniss — Helvetica (Light) with a dash of mauve and pink.
Secondly, also while at college, I became a fan of the superb work of Herb Lubalin — his U&lc, Avant Garde and Fact: these magazines blew my mind. As students we were thrilled to get some work into an issue of Herb’s U&lc Mag.
Lastly, in 1989 I was amazed by Roger Black’s new magazine Smart. This was the first magazine made on a Macintosh computer. No more artwork to do! Incredible! This new-fangled desktop publishing placed headlines, text, images and even gradational tints, all in one print file. Roger’s magazine had my favourite magazine strapline of all time: “One Smart reader is worth a thousand boneheads”. What has happened to America recently? They voted for the bonehead.
…and another thing
Type. In 1986 I worked for Debra Zuckerman, as deputy creative director of Business magazine — lots of great type and ideas. We tried hard to keep up the high standards set by David Hillman for the launch issues. I especially loved his brilliant Japan cover for issue two (I have lost this actual issue— so I made a facsimile of it here for you to see David’s idea). The typeface was based on an old woodblock print that David owned. I loved using this font for the covers. A wonderful art worker called Peter Taylor used to draw the cover type for us each month. This font has inspired one of my new London Type Foundry fonts, called London Mammoth Woodblock. The dynamism comes from the typeface having straight sides and no overshoots on the curved characters — they would break off, on the press. We always set the type C.N.T — close not touching.
Type specimans from the recently-launched London Type Foundry