Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

Archive Fetishes

In Uncategorized on December 15, 2010 at 11:10

Working in an archive can be an oddly intense experience. When dealing with personal archives, as I have been lately,  you become emotionally absorbed in the personal lives of the authors.  You truly see the world through the author’s eyes when dealing with hand-written documents. (I’m becoming so obsessed with the beauty of designer’s hand-writing that I could become very enthusiastic about the idea of writing another PhD on the subject).

However, this week I have been in world of official documents of the 1970s, which were of course mostly delivered via the type-writer. A child of the 90s, I dont really have the right to be nostalgic about type-writers, but my generation are nostalgic about most things ‘vintage’, so you’ll have to forgive me this fetish. There is something so determined, bold, imminent and important about the type-writer’s printed lettering that I can almost hear the thumping of the keys as I read through the archive. It is reassuring to know that I am not just going mad, and that there are, of course, plenty of others who value the beauty of the type writer. I was really pleased to see this artist, Keira Rathbone pay homage to the machine in this gorgeous piece of art.

Keira Rathbone produces lavish ASCII art with typewriters, going places a VT100 dare not tread, thanks to a typewriter’s capacity for overtyping, partial linefeed, and overall mechanical goodness.

The Art of Keira Rathbone: Typewriter Art (via Neatorama)



An Authoritative Voice?

In Uncategorized on December 8, 2010 at 15:42


This week, I have been in Brighton, working through some archive material relevant to the CSD, in the Design Archives and at St Peters Library. It has been really fun to read through The Designer magazine. It seems clear that it exerted significant influence both as a voice for the CSD and  also for the wider design industry.  The artwork and illustration inside and on the covers, as well as the debates and topics covered, were truly innovative and creative. I particularly liked this James Gardner cover for the February 1979 issue.

I wonder if such a magazine could ever be comprehensive or innovative enough for today’s CSD members. The accessibility of information on design has surely never been greater with online blogging. And yet, perhaps, in its own way, The Designer, acted as more than this-  an authoritative voice in an ever-changing profession. Did this provide a sense of security for its members? Today,  a range of opinions might be available at the click of a button, but a tangible and definitive perspective on the subject might have been a reassuring thing for the CSD as an organization. I would, as ever, be really interested to hear what you think.