Alexander Girard: wooden dolls (1963)

Alexander Girard's wooden dolls

22/12/10 – In 1963 Alexander Girard created a series of wooden dolls for his home in Santa Fe. Girard’s keen interest in folk art is apparent in the designs which act both as decorative items and children’s toys. (more…)

Czechoslovak aircraft stamp series by J. Lukavsky (1967)

Glider L-13

01/12/10 – Series of postage stamp designs by Jaroslav Lukavsky featuring Czechoslovak aircraft. Engraved by Josef Herčík in 1967. (more…)

Czechoslovak Red Cross matchbox label series (1959)

Pecujte o cistotu pracovist

16/07/10 – Matchbox label series from 1959 for the Czechoslovak Red Cross. Messages include such wise adages as: “Alcoholism ruins society.” “Play safe!” “Keep your town clean.” and “Respiratory exams catch TB early.” (more…)

Czech stamp series designed by Ivan Strnad (1972)

Ceskoslovensko 6k stamp (1972)
5/07/10 – Series of twelve stamps with floral motifs issued in 1972 in Czechoslovakia. Original artwork by Ivan Strnad translated into postage stamp format by well known engravers Josef Hercik and Miloš Ondráček. (more…)

C.P. Hornung: Handbook of designs and devices (1946)

Handbook of designs and devices (1946)

22/03/10 – A small selection from the 1,836 examples outlined in C.P. Hornung’s Handbook of designs and devices (1946): (more…)

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy: The new vision (1938)

15/01/10 – A selection of excerpts from Moholy-Nagy’s The New Vision (1938).


The New Vision was written to inform laymen and artists about the basic elements of the Bauhaus education: the merging of theory and practice in design. (5) (more…)

A selection of graphics from Bauhaus publications

The laws of cubical space are the linear network of planimetric and stereometric relationships

27/11/09 – A selection of diagrams and information graphics from Bauhaus publications by Gropius, Itten, Kandinsky , Klee, Moholy-Nagy, Schlemmer, et al. (more…)

Le Corbusier: Towards a new architecture (1923)

Towards a new architecture: title

16/09/09 – Excerpts from Le Corbusier’s Vers Une Architecture (1923), first English translation (Towards a New Architecture) 1927. (more…)

Air made visible: a visual reader on Bruno Munari (2000)

20/08/09 – Far vedere l’aria / Air Made Visible: A Visual Reader on Bruno Munari (2000) edited by Claude Lichtenstein and Alfredo W. Haberli. A catalogue for the exhibition at the Museum fur Gestaltung Zurich. Printed in Switzerland by Lars Muller Publishers//.

Falkland Lamp by Bruno Munari for Danese Milano

Falkland Lamp (1964)

12/08/09 – Falkland Lamp by Bruno Munari for Danese Milano (1964). Spontaneous form tube-like suspension lamp. More images//

Ladislav Sutnar: Design and paper, number 13 (1943)

Design and paper: number 13
17/07/09 – Selections from Design and paper number 13: controlled visual flow by Ladislav Sutnar, Marquardt and Co., New York (1943). (more…)

Ladislav Sutnar: Design and paper, number 19 (1945)

Design and paper: number 19

16/07/09 – Selections from Design and paper number 19: shape, line and colour by Ladislav Sutnar, Marquardt and Co., New York (1945).

Design and paper was a series of softcover booklets produced by New York paper wholesaler Marquardt and Co. between 1937 and 1952(?). Its production ran quarterly for 39 issues and was printed at a very high standard. The series showcased the finest papers for printers, art directors and others in the printing trade. After number 7, issues were primarily devoted to individual artists and designers. Ladislav Sutnar featured in numbers 13 and 19.

In issue 19, Sutnar gives a brief and illustrative lesson in the use of shape, line and colour for organizing and presenting information. Sutnar’s characteristic style is evident in the bold use of colour, dynamic spreads and organizational signposts.

Issue 19 colophon:
Cover: Crysteel Bristol – High Plate – 22.5 x 28.5 – 200M
Text: Dullbrite White – Substance 25 × 38–70
Plates by Royal-Jones Photo Engraving Corp.

Numbers 13 and 19 were accurately reproduced in 2003 from the collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague// by Fraktály Publishers. (more…)

Tapio Wirkkala for Iittala: 1968

13/07/09 – Tapio Wirkkala Ultima Thule glassware for Iittala, Finland (1968). Set of six juice/whisky sour glasses (18 cl.). (more…)

Karel Teige a typografie: asymetricka harmonie (2009)

28/06/09 – Monograph for Czech artist and designer, Karel Teige (1900-1951): Karel Teige a typografie: Asymetricka harmonie (2009) by Karel Srp, Polana Bregantova and Lenka Bydzovska. Text in Czech. (more…)

J. Hochuli: Detail in Typography

Jost Hochuli: Detail in Typography

18/05/09 – Excerpts from Jost Hochuli’s Detail in Typography: Letters, letterspacing, words, wordspacing, lines, linespacing, columns (2008): (more…)

Tenugui: Designs & Patterns Japan


26/04/09 – Excerpts from Tenugui, Pie Books (2007), Japan. Tenugui are traditional Japanese cotton hand-towels featuring a wide range of designs and motifs. (more…)

Typographic Study: Square with 3×3 Grid [Ex. AH-25]

Fig. AH-25-2.1a

14/04/09 – Formal typographic study of the square with 3×3 grid and variations in ratio/proportion and orientation. (more…)

Postcards from Expo 67 in Montreal

08/04/09 – Place d’Accueil – this is the main entrance to the Exhibition and the terminus of the mass transit. Buildings on the extensive deck are restaurants, boutiques and reception rooms.

All postcards marked: Official post card / Les Messageries de Press Benjamin Ltee / Benjamin News Co., Ltd., Montreal 3, Canada / Plastichrome of Canada / ©1963 [?] (more…)

Excerpts from The Vignelli Canon


24/03/09 – Excerpts from Massimo Vignelli’s The Vignelli Canon (2008):

This little book reveals our guidelines – those set by ourselves for ourselves. (6)

Creativity needs the support of knowledge to be able to perform at its best. (ibid.)

It is not the formula that prevents good design from happening but lack of knowledge of the complexity of the Design profession. (ibid.) (more…)

Jens Quistgaard for Dansk International Designs

18/12/08 – Kobenstyle pot designed by Jens Quistgaard for Dansk International Designs, France (1954). Red enamel on steel. Opening diameter: 8.5″

Oliver Tomas

  • Design historian and archivist based in Vancouver, Canada.
  • info[at]olivertomas[dot]com