.*. S .*. P .*. I .*. N .*. S .*. E .*. L .*. S .*.

• • • • • • on letters, words, books and graphic design • • • • • •

One more muse… Jan Bons




Another poetry collection from the Muze-series, this one was designed and illustrated by Jan Bons in 1958. Bons is a Dutch graphic designer, famous for the posters he made for the IDFA film festival or theatre de Appel, both in Amsterdam. He uses paper cut and collage technique a lot. Watching the excellent documentary by Lex Reitsma on his life and method of designing can only make today’s designers jealous of the freedom this man worked in, both practical and mental. Google him on images and you will become a happier person, guaranteed.



De Muze vertelt
Poetry collected by J.C. Brandt Corstius and Han G. Hoekstra
CPNB – 1958
Illustrations and typography by Jan Bons
Book format: 135 x 215 mm


Filed under: book design, , ,

Painting Art books


Two books on painting. The one above dates from 1936 but was passed on to me by my good friend and colleague PD last year. The title would translate as Beauty in the Art of Painting. It is part of a series of small common interest booklets published by Bosch & Keuning in Baar, Holland between 1934 and 1940. A well documented catalogue of the Libellen Serie can be consulted here.
Black and one spot colour on a yellow leather embossed paper. I like the narrow slab serif letter a lot, despite – or probably due to – its irregularities. The E closes too much, the lower right serif of the R is a bit out of center and the upper left one on the N feels almost assymetric. The serifs on the S and C are a bit clumsy. But the recent Helvetica jubilee made us all remember how boring a too polished or even design can become.

Below is a French title which – contrary to what the front cover suggests – dates from 1964. The dictionary entry, edition 1973, is a mock-up that helps to legitimize the neologism the author proposes in the title of the book. Tableauistes are not only painters but all players dealing with paintings (tableaux in French): art collectors, gallery keepers, art sellers (and maybe art frauds?). The book is set in metal Bodoni, sizes 30, 11 and 8, the hors textes (the picture inserts on the yellow paper) are printed in offset. Funny that the newspaper cuts that document the text are referred to as ‘collages’. That is French allure for you…
I am particularly charmed by the use of colour on this cover: in contrast with the classic choice of type, this yellow, orange and pink are definitely a wink.





De Schoonheid in de Schilderkunst, Herman Hana
Libellen-Serie Nr. 139
Bosch & Keuning, Baarn, 1936
Book format  170 x 190 mm (w x h)

L’Envers de la Peinture –
1. mœrs & coutumes des tableauistes
, Robert Lebel
Editions du Rocher, Monaco, 1964
Book format  185 x 225 mm (w x h)
Design: Jean Latour

Filed under: book design, ,

See saw seen  Greenleas



seen in Spreyton, Devon.

Filed under: lettering

Blink! partridge lemon label


Filed under: Blink!, ,

At the bottom of my box…

this read like a message:


I worried first, but after reading the record label
a calm smile came over me. I will sit here for a while and watch the sky.
With no music on.

Filed under: vieux papier,

Electrola! 78rpm sleeves [6]



These two close the series on 78 rpm record sleeves. Enjoy.

Filed under: graphic design, , ,

Decca! 78rpm sleeves [5]





My box is nearly empty now. A few more to go. And then, back to books.

Filed under: graphic design, , ,

Victory! 78rpm sleeves [4]



tomorrow: Decca!

Filed under: graphic design, , ,

Regal! Olympia! Elite! 78rpm sleeves [3]




Cristal, Odeon, Imperial, Olympia, Elite…  all very serious and pompous names. Even amusement was highbrow in the days before rock ‘n roll. Next: Victory!

Filed under: graphic design, , ,

Pathé! Telefunken! 78rpm sleeves [2]




The empty Pathé sleeve is not part of the box-collection. More to follow.

Filed under: graphic design, , ,