Welcome to Baseline issue 52. Regular readers will notice the redesign and changed format. We felt that the magazine, now in its 28th year, was due for a design overhaul. Since Bradbourne Publishing took over the publication in 1995, Baseline has undergone a number of subtle changes. The cover, jacket and banner gave the product its distinct appearance. The logo, grid, editorial style and typeface formed its visual structure. All this has served well for the past 12 years.
The new design
The team at HDR Visual Communication has designed a new logo, created a new grid and, after detailed research, selected new editorial typefaces.
To suit the history and nature of the magazine, the two new leading editorial typefaces are Akkurat and Kingfisher. Akkurat is a Continental sans serif, designed by Laurenz Brunner (Switzerland) and distributed by Lineto. Kingfisher, a serif by the English type designer Jeremy Tankard, will be introduced in the following issues.
The Akkurat family adds to the new, structured image of the magazine and has a range of useful weights. The Kingfisher typeface, a serif, will be used in conjunction with Akkurat and will complement the design for text matters.
The new Baseline logo – a stencil design – is based on a special advanced copy of Akkurat Schwarz. The stencil design has been chosen to give the logo individuality, recognition and a sense of classic modernity. It also reflects craft and hand lettering, as well as relating to mass production, creative thought and production processes.
We have also experienced changes at Bradbourne Publishing Limited. Mike Daines, founder and long-serving co-editor, has left the magazine and the publishing company. His input will be missed. Mike will concentrate on his venture, the e-lexicons, an electronic format learning resource, based on our acclaimed Baseline lexicon series.
In order to recognise emerging talents in our ever-changing world of the graphic arts and to assist in discovering historic, graphic treasures, a new teamof editorial contributors has been formed. These are distinguished designers, educators, authors and design critics Ken Garland (London), Steven Heller (New York), Arnold Schwartzman (Los Angeles), Helmut Schmid (Osaka) and, for our new educational section of the magazine, Ian McLaren.
Influential designer, educator and examiner. In 1964, he published his First Things First manifesto. Ken has been a frequent lecturer at international design conferences and is author of various design publications.
Design critic, author, former art director of the New York Times and co-chair of MFA design department at the School of Visual Arts, New York.
Arnold Schwartzman OBE RDI
Former director of design for the Los Angeles Olympic Games, an Oscar-winning film director and author of a number of design-related books.
Renowned graphic designer in Osaka, his designs are a unique combi-nation of Japanese tradition and Western modernity.
Prof. Ian McLaren
Acclaimed academic and designer, worked in the design team of Otl Aicher on the legendary identity for the Munich Olympic Games in 1972.
In our new education section, we aim to publish a variety of inspiring articles which show a spectrum of international educational topics. We hope this will provide a forum for discussion in the academic environment.
With all these new changes in place, we will remain dedicated to our readership and will continue to produce a publication to the high design and production standards for which Baseline is renowned.
To reflect the new identity, a new website design is in progress and will be launched in the autumn. Watch this space!
Enjoy the magazine in its ‘new suit’.
‘Form follows function’ – that mantra of modernist design – is often misunderstood, or interpreted too strictly. Functional design is not necessarily simple and spartan. There are many messages that are better communicated by means of a complex, even multi-layered form than – through a reductive scheme. There exist historical alibis for this, too. Although much proto-functionalist work did indeed pioneer the formal ascetism with which we have come to associate modernism, there are other instances (such as many Russian constructivist works, or certain Dutch and Central-European examples of ‘typo-photo’) in which artist-designers used rather complex, colourful or layered imagery to convey a message in a powerful way.
Communication design stops working when it fails to attract the attention of passers-by and readers. In other words, it is not functional when it is not interesting…
Edward Wright’s art and design work has never been well known. ‘In spite of a considerable professional following, he is largely unappreciated by the critics or the public,’ wrote his friend Theo Crosby in 1977, the year of Wright’s retirement from Chelsea School of Art. As if to prove the point, in the catalogue to the Barbican exhibition of 2004, on ‘independent British graphic design’ since the 1960s, there are no pictures and just two brief mentions: of the evening classes which Wright taught at the Central School, London, during the 1950s, and of him as one of 22 signatories to the ‘First things first’ statement initiated by Ken Garland in January 1964.
Ten years earlier, Richard Hollis, in his book Graphic design: a concise history, had commended Wright’s design of the catalogue to the famous ‘This is tomorrow’ exhibition of contemporary British art at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1956. Later he wrote that although it had no precedent and no direct influence, it is one of the most memorable pieces of design made here’. Earlier still, Wright’s work – both writing and designing – appeared sporadically between 1954 and 1967 in the pages of Typographica , the periodical edited by Herbert Spencer. Its first public showing, however, came in early volumes of Designers in Britain, between 1949 and 1954: posters for the D. H. Evans department store, art directed by Arpad Elfer; window-display constructions for Simpsons, art directed by Natasha Kroll; plus illustrations and book covers…
My title is taken from a lecture by the 19th century art critic, artist and social reformer, John Ruskin. In it, he says, ‘…because we cannot use a rusty knife or razor as well as a polished one, we suppose it to be a great defect in iron that it is subject to rust. But not at all. It is not the fault of iron, but a virtue, to be so fond of getting rusted, for in that condition it fulfils its most important function in the universe, and most kindly duties to mankind. Nay, in a certain sense, and almost a literal one, we may say that iron rusted is Living; but when pure or polished, Dead.’…
Baseline has always been committed to international academic education within the Graphic Arts. From issue 52 onwards, four pages are now dedicated for a series of inspirational articles, essays, course projects, academic research, etc., from schools and universities around the globe. Prof. Ian McLaren, distinguished academic and designer, has joined our team as advisor and editor, to establish this new section on aspects of international design education.
One of the most loved & hated graphic designers of all time is the North American Art Chantry, known for his raw, strong and crude visual imagery that uses the complex meanings of American popular culture to reach the viewer with violent and effective messages. The first time I saw the book Instant Litter – Concert Posters from Seattle Punk Culture I was amazed; only someone very special would search inside everybody’s wastebasket, dig for forgotten photocopied punk concert posters and treat them with an almost scientific method…
©2007 Bradbourne Publishing Ltd.