Category: Clickable

A significant force in modern Canadian graphic design

Via Present & Correct, I was glad to find these gorgeous early 1960s-era science textbooks designed by Rolf Harder.

Rolf Harder graphic design textbooks

In a short piece at Graphis magazine not long after these designs were produced, Hans Neuburg wrote that Harder, who won scores of international design awards and has had his work exhibited all over the world, was “among the most significant forces in modern Canadian graphic design.” Born in Germany in 1929, Harder moved to Montreal, Canada in the late 1950s. Online archive Canada Modern has these textbooks as having been designed by Rolf Harder’s firm, beginning in 1964.

These book covers are very strongly reminiscent of the work of painter and illustrator Charley Harper, who looked to field guides to draw beautiful fish and other wildlife for the covers of Ford Times magazine and elsewhere in the early 1950s. I wrote about Harper’s magazine work here at my site in 2017.

See more of Rolf Harder’s work at MoMA and Canada Modern.

Vibrant as a rainbow

At The Los Angeles Times, Lyra Kilston wrote about midcentury Southern California designer Gere Kavanaugh, whose work is celebrated in a new book from Princeton Architectural Press, “the first monograph on Kavanaugh’s life and work, (which) tells her story through a fascinating avalanche of visual material.” Here’s Kilston on Kavanaugh’s direction after finishing at Cranbrook Academy of Art:

She graduated in 1952, becoming the third woman to earn an MFA in design at Cranbrook, and was soon hired by General Motors as one of its “Damsels of Design” to work on car interiors, kitchen appliances and its lavish modern showrooms. Her ideas were fresh and inventive: For a spring showcase of new cars she conceived of a garden party theme, filling the auditorium with blooming hyacinths and creating 30-foot-high bird cages containing 90 singing canaries. Soon she was choosing between offers at architecture firms run by Finnish architect and industrial designer Eero Saarinen in Michigan or architect Victor Gruen in Los Angeles. She took a fateful one-week trip to check out the West Coast, visiting the artist-activist nuns Sister Corita Kent and Sister Magdalen Mary, who welcomed her warmly and insisted she relocate to Los Angeles. She complied, embracing and embodying the colorful region where she still resides today.

I hadn’t heard of Kavanaugh before reading Kilston’s piece, and I think we’re going to have to order A Colorful Life.