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

Blink! 3DE


Seen today in Hoogstraat/Rue Haute, Brussels


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Blink! Brio Soap Boxes



Seen today in Blaesstraat/rue Blaes, Brussels

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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

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Electrola! 78rpm sleeves [6]



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

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Decca! 78rpm sleeves [5]





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

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Victory! 78rpm sleeves [4]



tomorrow: Decca!

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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!

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Pathé! Telefunken! 78rpm sleeves [2]




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

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Cristal! Odeon! Imperial! 78rpm sleeves [1]




The music I grew up with was always associated with imagery. En plus, I lived and survived the era of the ‘concept album’. Every 33 rpm record had it’s own lavishly designed 30 by 30 cm back and front, often with a fold-out or enclosed booklet. Some surface for a graphic designer, compared to the size of a cd jewel case. Every disc was a planned set of songs and had a personalised visual counterpart in its packaging that is hard to imagine if all the music you have is downloaded to an iPod.

A long time ago, when my mom and dad were kids, music didn’t have a face. It came through the radio speaker, not the screen, and records were a fairly new market. Record companies made publicity for themselves or their catalogue, not for the individual artist in their sleeves. Nice sleeves, though. More coming up.

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Boxed treasure 78rpm sleeves


I have a weakness for old paper. I like the surface it has and the life it had. So I collect stuff that other people would throw away. It is rare to come across plain old useless paper on markets but it happens. I will show some examples later. Just to tell you I might have taken this box home even if it had been empty. But it wasn’t. Let us not rush. Turn it around first.


Nice lettering on the remains of the paper tape that held it closed. And a pretty illustration that says ‘handle with care’ without words. Let’s open it.


The box contains  a collection of bakelite 78 rpm records, all in great company sleeves. I will show these treasures in the next days. For now enjoy the packaging.


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