Your Cart

Unit/10 top ten – Krautrock!

Our latest Top Ten post in celebration of our decade in publishing turns to music, specifically the cosmic sounds of Krautrock. As a lifelong fan of the genre, Adrian Shaughnessy picks ten of his favourite records – from releases by Can and NEU!, to Harmonia and Cluster. If you are a fan of John Lydon, The Fall, Julian Cope, Boards of Canada, Stereolab or Berlin-era Bowie, you’ll already be a fan of Krautrock. I prefer the name Cosmische Musik, but I’m talking about the school of music that flourished in Germany in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was music made with guitars, drums and keyboards, but it wasn’t pop music. It was much closer to the 20th-century classical avant...

read entire article

Unit/10 book list – Matt Pyke, Universal Everything

As part of our Unit/10 anniversary celebrations, we’re running a series of book lists here on the site. For our second list we asked Matt Pyke, founder of art and design studio Universal Everything, to pick a selection of his favourite books that have helped shape his life and work. The ground-breaking projects that Pyke and his various collaborators have created over 15 years is the subject of our forthcoming book, What is Universal Everything?, more details of which will be revealed very soon. For now, enjoy Matt’s own list of inspirational and thought-provoking books. The Object Stares Back – On the Nature of Seeing by James Elkins The book which taught me the fundamentals of seeing, our primal perception of movement...

read entire article

Unit/10 book list – Mark Sinclair, Unit Editions

For our first Unit/10 book list – collections of favourite books on visual culture as selected by the Unit team, our friends and collaborators – Unit’s senior editor Mark Sinclair shares some highlights from his bookshelves. As well as we think we know them, favourite books are always ready to give up their secrets again, from long-forgotten sentences, thoughts and ideas, to sequences of images or design decisions we previously might have missed. Some of the books I’ve chosen here are ones I’ve not opened for a while, but, in going back to them over the past few days, I’ve both recognised – and been surprised by – what they contain. Peter Mendelsund had already established himself as one of the world’s most talented book cover...

read entire article

Talking with Rhoda Lubalin

By Adrian ShaughnessyOne of the great pleasures of researching our book on Herb Lubalin was speaking to his widow, Rhoda. An artist in her own right, Rhoda Sparber provided me with a unique insight into her life and work, and her time with her late husband. Rhoda was Herb’s second wife. His first, Sylvia Kushner, died in 1971. Some of Rhoda’s work can be seen in an issue of UL&C magazine, where she made sculpted heads of Saul Bass, Lou Dorfsman and Milton Glaser. Her life in art began in ninth grade. Rhoda Sparber, 1971As she told me: “My art teacher Ms. Curran, (carrot-colored hair, purple clothes) tiptoed to my desk and whispered ‘Mayor La Guardia is opening a new...

read entire article

Ten Things You Should Know About Herb Lubalin

Our recent Kickstarter campaign to republish our 2012 book on US designer and typographer Herb Lubalin was successful. Warm thanks to all our backers! Last year, Adrian Shaughnessy talked to the #Lubalin100 project about his experience of writing and researching the book, and describing what he discovered about this legendary figure of American graphic design. By way of an introduction to Lubalin we present the full text, here. Prior to writing a book on Herb Lubalin (1918–81), I had a rather sketchy opinion of him, writes Shaughnessy. Of course, I recognised that he was a significant American typographer and designer, responsible for some high quality typographic logos and a handful of era-defining typefaces. Yet the more I delved into the life and work of Lubalin,...

read entire article

Unit Editions @ ten

By Adrian Shaughnessy When we started Unit Editions ten years ago, lots of people told us not to waste our time. Print was dead, they said, and it certainly looked that way. Bookshops were closing, magazine and newspaper sales were evaporating, eBooks were on the rise, and pretty much everything that was once printed now seemed destined to move online.  But something told us this wasn’t the complete picture. When Tony Brook and I decided to set up a publishing company, we were only sure of two things: firstly, we both loved books and, secondly, we knew that graphic designers, no matter how immersed in the digital world, also loved books. So, despite the warnings about the future of print, we pushed ahead and formed Unit Editions. Now, ten...

read entire article

Season’s Greetings, Herb Lubalin style

By Mark Sinclair The festive season provided Herb Lubalin’s New York studio with an opportunity to send warm messages of goodwill to its clients, while indulging in some witty, often heartfelt, self-promotional work that displayed its mastery of type. To coincide with the republication of our 2012 monograph, Herb Lubalin: American Graphic Designer 1918—81, we wanted to take a look at some of the work his studio made around this time of year, some forty-five years ago. The festive messaging that Lubalin and his team produced in the early 1970s – from Christmas and New Year’s cards, to packaging designs for client gifts – occupies an interesting place within the studio’s creative output. Take this holiday poster from 1967, issued by the Lubalin studio’s second incarnation where long-time associate...

read entire article

Lance Wyman talks Process

By Mark Sinclair Our new book, Lance Wyman: Process, is a near facsimile of the leather-bound ‘sketchbook’ that the US designer made when working on his proposal for the 1976 American Bicentennial identity. The book opens with an interview with Wyman where he discusses how the project began, how his design thinking evolved over its duration, and how an understanding of his own ‘process’ became integral to the creation of the work. An edited extract of this conversation with Adrian Shaughnessy is featured below. Wyman’s original book catalogues the work he produced in collaboration with the architect Michael Cohalan, which was submitted in a competition to design a logo and graphic identity for the 1976 Bicentennial celebrations that would mark the creation of the USA as an independent republic. By 1970, Wyman had acquired quite a reputation. His...

read entire article

Lars Harmsen: visual crashes in Letraset

By Mark Sinclair Lars Harmsen, a Munich-based creative director and the co-founder of Melville studio and Slanted magazine, has been publishing a personal visual diary to his Instagram account which makes interesting use of Letraset. We included some examples of his work in our book on the lettering system – and recently spoke to him about his process and what has drawn him back to this analogue practice. In using a rubdown instant-transfer version of the typeface FF Clan, Harmsen makes “striking typographic compositions that are free from the inflexibility of computer software,” we write in Letraset: The DIY Typography Revolution. “I started the rub-off-type-diary a year ago,” Harmsen says. “All the pieces are in a thick blue book. I pick up stuff from the news. They...

read entire article

At the Franco Grignani archive

By Mark Sinclair Last week, Unit’s Tony Brook and I were lucky enough to get the chance to visit the archive of artist and graphic designer, Franco Grignani (1908-99). Thanks to the work of his daughter, Manuela, the Milan-based collection records Grignani’s working life in vivid detail and contains thousands of original works, proofs, sketches and projects he produced over fifty years. Joined by Mario Piazza, founder of 46xy studio and former AIAP president, the opportunity to see so many of Grignani’s visual explorations on paper was a real privilege. Housed in a basement studio beneath an apartment building in central Milan, the Grignani archive is a large space divided into two main areas: paintings and prints are housed in racks on...

read entire article