‘The 1930s’

  1. ‘Trains and Buttered Toast’ by John Betjemann

    May 9, 2013 by Victoria Love

    Edited by Stephen Games. Hodder, 2007.

    Trains and Buttered Toast by Stephen Games & John Betjeman, 2007.

    Fig. K – Trains and Buttered Toast by Stephen Games & John Betjeman, 2007. ( www.hodder.co.uk)

    The nostalgic values of this book cover are hard to ignore. This book is an edited work of the radio broadcasts from John Betjeman, given between 1930 and 1950. A steam train enthusiast and passionate about restoring Britain after the Second World War, the content of this book is well matched to the cover.

    To The Dales poster by London and North Eastern Railway, n.d. Artwork by Duff Tollemache (1859-1936).

    Fig. L To The Dales poster by London and North Eastern Railway, n.d. Artwork by Duff Tollemache (1859-1936).
    ( www.travelpostersonline.com)

    Instead of commissioning new cover art in mimicry of a 1930s railway poster, the designer of this cover has appropriated the genuine article, cleaned it up and applied sensitive and timely typography. By setting the title in Gill Sans, he has used a face which was intentionally created for use on L.N.E.R’s posters in the 1930s and was also influenced by Johnston; the typeface designed for the London Underground.

    The result is heart-warming, ‘Jam and Jerusalem’ nostalgia that is both efficient and exact in its design origins.


  2. ‘The Promise of Endless Summer’ by The Daily Telegraph

    May 9, 2013 by Victoria Love

    Edited by Martin Smith. Aurum Press, 2013.

    'The Promise of Endless Summer' by The Daily Telegraph. Edited by Martin Smith, 2013.

    Fig. M – ‘The Promise of Endless Summer’ by The Daily Telegraph.
    Edited by Martin Smith, 2013.
    ( www.telegraph.co.uk)

    This book collates over eighty cricketing tributes and obituaries from the Daily Telegraph. In an attempt to appear quintessentially English, the designer has appropriated the visual style of the railway poster and the use of Gill Sans. The choice of bright-red for the sub-header text and the incorporation of ‘The Daily Telegraph’s logotype seems too clash with the muted colour palette. Whilst the design works well in echoing the title and representing the content, it lacks the charm of an original artwork; it feels too clean and precise.


  3. ‘Giants of Steam’ by Jonathan Glancey

    May 9, 2013 by Victoria Love

    Atlantic Books, 2012.

    Giants of Steam by Jonathan Glancey, 2013.

    Fig. N – Giants of Steam by Jonathan Glancey, 2013.
    ( atlantic-books.co.uk)

    While this book revolves around the steam age, the train featured on the front and the overall feeling of the cover is far more modern. It also appropriates a railway poster, although in this instance, one from America, featuring the luxurious train of the time, the ‘New 20th Century’. The design of the train itself is evocative of the 1930s, blending both Art Deco and the emerging Streamline Moderne style. Using an English typeface like Gill Sans with an American-designed train might seem at odds, but given the book’s content is global and includes the U.K. and the U.S.A.; it connotes this blend quite well. Even though this choice might not be obvious to most, I think this is a deliberate decision taken by the designer to reflect this duality.

    New 21st Century Railway Poster - New York Central Railroad, n.d.

    Fig. O – New 21st Century Railway Poster – New York Central Railroad, n.d. ( www.erraticphenomena.com)