Philip James of the V&A’s National Art Library developed the ‘Jobbing Printing Collection’ by requesting samples of work from high-profile companies and designers in Europe and North America. His purpose was to capture the social, political and technological change of the 1930s through contemporary commercial print.
The current exhibition, The New Line, at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill displays a small but high quality and varied selection from this collection. It’s a must see for graphic designers and illustrators.
I can’t help adoring this kind of work from the early modern age. It is refreshing and bold in part due to the restrictions of the printing technologies of the time. But also because of the industrial subject matter and the celebration of geometry and form. The graphical simplicity and mastery of composition are things we don’t see enough of today.
Of course it is ironic that images focused on the cutting-edge technology of the time now have such vintage charm. Especially when viewed in the context of the deco Pavilion. And I was charmed indeed.