We picked up this little number at the most recent Ephemera Society Fair. We've done (an admittedly cursory) google about it, but not turned up any useful info (if you can shed any light on it, drop us a line). But regardless, it's just great isn't it? We're loving the laying of type, made all the more special with the scratchy handwritten text. Ace. More stuff, as ever, on Alistair's Ephemera Flickr Set.
We nipped over to the latest Ephemera Society Fair on Sunday, and picked up a couple of tasty bits of print.
First up is this Raleigh bikes brochure - no idea what year this might be - with a page detailing their bikes' features picked out in cyan, magenta and yellow. As Dave in the studio might say, how fresh is that?
Seems like all their bikes at the time had names that began with an 'R'. You could choose from the Record (for the man who MUST lead the rest); the Rapide (for quality looks and value); the Rapier (as light and as sharp as a fencing blade); or the Royale (a whirlwind flyer with regal grace)!
Loving the Raleigh logo - how bonkers is that G? Check out the full set of images on this Flickr set.
More bike related ephemera following soon. And if you want to grab some for yourself, the next fair is Sunday 4 October.
Hello all, tea's made so now I can get writing. As Alistair mentioned, I'm Ed Cornish and I've taken time out of my busy summer holiday schedual of avoiding my thesis and worrying about the dreaded final year of uni to help out at the studio. Regular visitors to We Made This will know that they are big fans of old printed ephemera, and I've been squandering my student loan on old tat for a while now, so I thought I’d commandeer the blog to show off a piece from my own collection; the manual for an Olivetti Lettera 22 Typewriter. Both Alistair and I are proud owners of Lettera 22s (I was lucky enough to get mine with a case and instruction manual as a gift, and apparently the whole package was picked up for around £3 from a car-boot sale!) and he posted about his a while ago, so now I’m posting this as an accompaniment and a full Flickr set can be found here.
The Lettera 22 was the pinnacle of 1950s typewriters (MoMA even have one in their permanent collection), a true luxury item, and the manual testifies to this. The copy is peppered with proud sentiment, and includes gems like ‘The Olivetti Lettera 22 is quite clearly a portable typewriter of the most up-to-date design and fine workmanship’ and ‘A few minutes spent in reading this book will enable the novice and the experienced typist alike to get the very best out of this excellent typewriter’. It refers to itself as a book! You almost get the impression Olivetti decided to print a manual that people would actually want to keep and not throw away once they got used to their new typewriter. The whole thing could have been printed entirely in black, but pale greens, reds and turquoises pop up throughout, giving the manual a sense of luxury that elevates it from being just a utilitarian document.
The type is filled with quirky detailing, such as the massive bold numerals on pretty much every page. I’m particularly fond of the typeface used for all the headings; big, bold, italic, red… anything but elegant. The type and the tone of the copy give it a sense of humanity you never see in manuals nowadays. The humanity is carried over into the latter half of the manual, which is a practical guide to using the typewriter. Just look at those Saul Bass-esque diagrams!
Of course a lot of the appeal of the Olivetti instruction manual comes from its kitsch-ness; that it’s so of the 1950s, and the fact that it talks about what is now a redundant piece of technology in a glorious present tense. An added irony is that instruction manuals, much like typewriters, may soon become a thing of the past; it’s more economic to just put all the necessary info on the web and print the URL on the box. Fewer instructions also seem like a sign of efficiency and superior, easy-to-use technology. Maybe it could be worth holding onto all your old mobile phone manuals before the iPhone and its imitators take over? They may have the same effect on designers in 50 years time as the Olivetti manual has now. The Olivetti Lettera 22 instruction manual shows what can happen if a designer doesn’t compromise on quality despite the potential banality of a job, and is supported by a client that shares their passion. It is a beautiful piece of graphic design that accompanies classic product, and if it was anything less than stunning, it wouldn’t deserve to be seen anywhere near a Lettera 22.
Not content with just getting his paws on the Cycle Maintenance Handbook, Alistair also picked up a rather fine (and almost complete) set of trading cards produced by the orange drink Jubbly*, dating from around 1967 as far as we can tell.
The cards, called Adventurous Lives, feature a series of really dangerous jobs for men, of the sort that almost never come up at the job centre: test pilot, crocodile hunter, speedway rider, sea-quarium vet, big game hunter, log roller and atomic worker being some of our favourites.
We totally want to be sea-quarium vets when we grow up:
"The newest way of studying the habits of marine creatures is the construction of large sea-water aquariums. Naturally, like all living things, sea creatures can become ill, so veterinary surgeons have to specialise in the treatment of these illnesses. In the picture a vet is shown treating a porpoise, but it may be necessary to treat sharks, or poisonous rays, or even a whale. As yet there are no Sea-Quariums in Britain, but no doubt one day there will be."
Alistair was back in the Isle of Wight this weekend (you probably went when you were a child - everyone does) for the Randonnee, a round-the-island cycle ride, and nipped into what is rapidly becoming a very-favourite-shop-of-all-time, Wight Elephant. It's a bric-a-brac shop, but one that brims with goodness of every kind.
He picked up a copy of the Raleigh Cycle Maintenance Handbook there, which is a pure delight, printed in black and a couple of delicious spot colours, with sections such as "Nature from a Cycle" (spot a weasel, or an otter leaving the water, or even a badger); "Safety Hints" (Never rely on the 'other man' to do the right thing - he may not); "Touring by Lake, Hill or Sea"; as well as a page to record your expenditure on spares and repairs. Gorgeous.
Check out some more pictures over at Alistair's Flickr Ephemera set.
Wired magazine has always been one of our favourite reads, so we were dead glad when they launched their new UK edition last month. As usual, the magazine's a mix of ideas, technology, culture and business (as it says on the cover), but now with a bit more of a British twist, both in terms of content and contributors.
We grabbed their rather fine subscription offer (£2 per issue), which means that the latest issue arrived by post. And just how brilliant is it that ripping open the mailer (above) revealed the Superman logo, just as if Clark Kent were tearing open his shirt? Clever stuff.
Sorry for the late notice on this one, but, ah heck, we've just been busy.
This weekend sees the latest Ephemera SocietySpecial Fair take place in the oh-so-lovely surroundings of the Holiday Inn on Coram Street in Bloomsbury.
If you've not been before, an ephemera fair is a like a big posh jumble sale where the only thing you can buy is printed ephemera. There's always a huge amount of stuff to wade through, but you can regularly find some real gems: old printing manuals, BOAC luggage labels, Swiss Air travel documents, vintage posters... they're all there.
The fair runs from 11 until 5, but get there early for the good stuff.
While we were out in Amsterdam, we came across the work of Canadian stencil artist Roadsworth (Peter Gibson), and really liked it, so we thought we'd share.
He's been doing his thing since 2001, using stencils to adapt the existing road graphics, mainly on the streets of Montreal, initially as a protest against the lack of cycle lanes, but increasingly as a commentary on car culture, oil dependancy and authoritarianism. We're not sure how successful it is on those counts, but as a way of injecting a little wit and lyricism into the urban landscape, it rocks.