Skip to content

Archive for

Soviet Life 1969 – Man and Outer Space

Soviet Life 1969 – Man and Outer Space

Soviet Life magazine of August 1969 was an edition dedicated to “Man and Outer Space”. It is a fascinating publication with a wide range of articles from the technical and factual to the sociological. There is even one entitled “The Legal Status of the Moon” and another interesting read by Yuri Gagarin entitled “Emotions in Outer Space”.

The magazine of course gives a nearly wholly Soviet perspective of Man in Space, but it is a story which the Western World today may hardly be aware of – i.e. the important role which the Soviets played in the early “space race”.

Interestingly this edition was published just a month after the NASA Astronauts had landed on the Moon, and the “race to the moon” was over for the Soviets.

The graphics, photography and layout in this edition are all particularly good. Below are some of my favourites. The illustrator(s)/graphic designer(s) of many of the images are not attributed, but the Art Director attributed in the magazine credits is Marina T. Zabolotskaya.

The Young Cosmanauts Club - Photo Boris Elin

The Young Cosmanauts Club – Photo Boris Elin

At Dawn

At Dawn – Carrier Rocker of Soyuz Spaceship at the launching pad in Baikonur. Photographer not known

Soviet Life, Cover, August 1969

Soviet Life, Cover, August 1969 – Carrier Rocket of the Vostock spaceship. Photo Alexander Mokletsov.

Read more

Icons & Images, A Photographic Auction

I visit a lot of auction sites – both online and in real life, and one of my favourite for 20th Century Photography, Vintage Posters and more is Swann Auction Galleries in New York.

On February 15th 2018 they have an auction “Icons and Images: Photographs and Photobooks”. The list of Photographers represented is breathtaking in its scope – with many instantly recognisable big names and iconic images – from likes of Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ansell Adams, Cindy Sherman etc etc. – the list goes on with over 300 lots for auction. Many of the images are instantly recognisable as iconic 20th Century images, but below I have picked a few of my favourites from the catalogue – most of which I havent come across previously. The first 2 here by ANDRÉ KERTÉSZ , the father of modern photojournalism, I think are simply beautiful.

Copyright of these images belongs to the original photographers and Swann Galleries New York. Do not repost.

ANDRÉ KERTÉSZ (1894-1985) Mondrian's Glasses and Pipe

ANDRÉ KERTÉSZ (1894-1985) Mondrian’s Glasses and Pipe, 1926 – Image via Swann Galleries NYC

ANDRÉ KERTÉSZ (1894-1985) Chez Mondrian.

ANDRÉ KERTÉSZ (1894-1985) Chez Mondrian. Image by Swann Galleries NYC

Read more

Vintage Pharmaceutical Packaging Design

Below are some fascinating images of vintage pharmacological packaging and label design, which I purchased at an auction of a closed pharmacy a few years ago. They appear to be mainly from around the 1930s with some going up to the 1960s. Many of the items included the original outer box, plus the inner container – which gives us much more context of the design than just one element of a design.

Interesting to see how language or terminology on pharmacy packaging has changed since this time too. Such confronting sounding ailments – carbuncles, catarrh, furunculosis…..

I remember “Bex” from my childhood when it was the common drug of choice for cold and flu symptoms – looking at the ingredients now – it is no wonder it made everything seem better :). Manufacture of Bex started around 1930 and was popular until it was withdrawn in 1983 due to safety concerns.

Bex was a strong compound analgesic which was popular in Australia for much of the twentieth century. It came in the form of A.P.C. (aspirin–phenacetin–caffeine) tablets or powder, containing 42% aspirin, 42% phenacetin, plus caffeine. 

Bex was a product of Beckers Pty Ltd. of Pym Street, Dudley Park, South Australia. It was advertised with the phrase, “Stressful Day? What you need is a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down”.

Bex powders were the housewife’s drug of choice in the 1950s and 1960s until they were shown to be highly addictive and found by Dr. Kincaid-Smith to be responsible for causing kidney disease when taken in large doses. (source:Wikipedia)


Vintage Pharmaceutical Packaging & Design Vintage Pharmaceutical Packaging & Design Read more

Gebrauchsgraphik 1968, Pharmaceutical Advertising

In the Gebrauchspgraphik International Advertising Art Journal of January 1968,  is an article entitled “Swiss Pharmaceutical Advertising”.

It features graphics from a publication written by Hans Neuberg which illustrates “a very comprehensive account of the present situation of Swiss chemical and pharmaceutical advertising” at the time.

Pharmaceutical Ads have always been different in their graphical nature to other industrial advertising, because, as outlined in the article:

“For whereas conventional industrial art principally depends on the procurement and utilisation of objective data…..the advertising of chemical-pharmaceutial industry is characterised by a strong, informative tendency. Frequently this method is imposed by far more abstract subject matter”

Below is a selection of some of the impressive and beautiful designs featured in this comprehensive article:

Pharmaceutical Ad - Ciba Studio Basel

Pharmaceutical Ad – Design by Ciba Studio Basel

Read more

David Kindersley – Variations on a Theme

These striking alphabets are illustrations for the lead article “The Penrose Survey” in the Penrose Annual 1970, no. 63. The dust jacket of the edition also featured, against a hot pink background, 2 of the alphabet designs.

The illustrations are from David Kindersley’s book “Variations on a theme of twenty six letters”, a book published to coincide the with opening of Kindersley’s fascinating alphabet exhibition at The Folio Society, London, 1969.

David Kindersley - Variations on a Theme of 26 Letters, Penrose Annual

David Kindersley – From Variations on a Theme of 26 Letters, Penrose Annual 1970

Read more