Typographic ephemera

A word or two on George Nelson, who was NOT a graphic designer

Simply a designer. I came across his work at an exhibition at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum. Not a name familiar to me but I was struck by the posters he and his team designed, and shown here. For more information on the work see here




Brand design

When cricket was simpler (without the electronics)

Over here in Australia cricket is in a parlous state. Two Tests played and two lost. As someone who holds dual nationality it would be natural to think  I would have divided opinions. Not so. My loyalties lie with the English in Test cricket. However, I am disappointed with the introduction of so many methods to dispute an umpires instant decision. Back in 1934 it was much simpler, and I offer this advertisement, from Paper and Print, as acknowledgement. (Incidentally, Australia won the Nottingham Test – 8 to 12 June – by 238 runs, with Bradman contributing just 54 to the Aussies totals. Australia went on to win the series.)

The Great Test

Brand design Typographic ephemera

Something sunny for a European summer weekend

In the midst of the Australian winter, please accept ‘Sunny Jim’, taken from Vol. 7, n.26 of Paper and Print, 1934.

sunny jim

calligraphy Thoughts on lettering Typographic ephemera

Something very graphic for the weekend

I confess  the name Marian Bantjes is one with which I am unfamiliar. But then I am sure, too, that she has not heard of John Pitt. We bumped into each other (or rather me her) when I plucked her book I Wonder from one of our bookshelves where it had lain dormant for some years. My partner (another Marian) had brought the book back from a visit to New York, and it’s signed by the author. It’s a lovely volume, richly illustrated and superbly designed by Marian (the NY one). I’d love to hear from other readers who share my enthusiasm. This illustration is but one of many I could have chosen.

marian bantjes


Signwriting – a lost art?

These illustrations were taken this week of a hand painted sign in the local town a few kms from where I live. Judging by the style I’d estimate the sign was painted in the 60s or perhaps 70s. It is a nice example of slab lettering combined with shading to make the lettering seem as if engraved or incised. (Shame about the orange graffiti.)

simpson signage a

simpson signage b

simpson signage

The next illustration, taken from A.J. Lewery’s Signwritten Art (1989, David and Charles), shows a page from William Sutherland’s  The Practical Guide to Sign Writing and Gilding, and Ornamenting on Glass (1860).

signwriting sutherland

lettering, typography, alphabets, stonework

Clifford Harper, anarchy and An Alphabet

On Clifford Harper see here for information. This ‘chapbook’ was published in 1990 in the UK. (Any idea what S is for?)




Source: personal collection.


Typographic ephemera typography

Something novel for the weekend

Found in the October 1967 of the Monotype Newsletter 82, with no commentary. Does it really need any?


Brand design Thoughts on lettering

Brand design from the Olympics (just past)

Go Aussie. This can of Coca-Cola found, discarded, illustrates the transience of not only an event but of a font…

Typographic ephemera

Something anonymous for this August weekend

Taken from The Art of Lettering by Albert Kapr (1983), K.G.Saur, Munchen – English translation from the original first published 1971. The design is attributed to a US graphic artist. The date on the man’s helmet is June 23, 1967. Anyone have a clue what this poster is about?

Humour lettering Typographic ephemera

Something chalky for the weekend

Continuing a tradition that began way back and has been discontinued a while…this seen locally (by which I mean the east coast of Australia) and entirely hand-drawn. Not much else to add, except, enjoy your weekend wherever you may be, and remember that the Olympics in London begin this time next week. I shall have something to write about that soon. (But do I write that so I may got more viewers? Not a chance. I will only be writing about the 1948 games and showing [shewing] some advertising from that period.) This blog, as I hope you now appreciate, is anything but predictable.