Penrose Annual, Vol. 52, 1958

With their masterly printing, art direction and savvy editorial, the Penrose Annual was a remarkably influential publication for modern graphic arts.  First printed in the 90’s, the 1890’s that is, the annual was produced in the UK until 1971 by the inimitable fine arts publisher, Lund Humphries. From 1972 to is unfortunate demise in 1982, the Penrose was published by Northwood Publications Limited. We believe that, as a champion of design technology and modern principles of design, the Penrose is an excellent reference.

Penrose Graphic Arts Annual, Vol. 52, London, 1958

The jacket, designed by Arthur Spense, features a bold Baskerville typeface and simple geometric patches that overprint the knocked out title.

With its 200 pages, litho plates, and pullouts, Volume 52 of the London-based Penrose Graphice Arts Annual is a significant achievement in design and publishing. This is the first edition edited by Allan Delafons (there was a significant delay in its release attributed to the meticulous demands of the newly installed editor) and the sheer volume and breadth of the book is remarkable.

Lasting Impressions

The Last Book Store, located a block away from our studios in Downtown Los Angeles, is, when the moon is right, a treasure trove of vintage, and what I like to call, pre-vintage, design tomes.  One has to arrive at the right time, as the store’s selection is constantly being suffused and then quickly consumed (the latter is our department). The store buys books too, on location. But the red meat supposedly comes from an enormous Citizen Cain style warehouse on the outskirts of downtown.  The aptly named, dream-like emporium is our favorite downtown purlieu is perhaps best described by Casey Cep in the Paris Review:

The Last Bookstore is equal parts mausoleum, shrine, and warehouse. If it were to be the last of the great commercial enterprises we know as bookstores, then it would be a fitting end to the legacy of booksellers, going all the way back to the ancient scribes.

In an effort to share in some of the toothsome booty we’ve managed to proffer from this magnificent establishment, we’re going to periodically build on a continuing series of posts tagged, ‘Last Books’.  We realize we’re kind of giving away our trade secret, so much of our design inspiration comes from the very shelves which we we’ll be divulging. But we’re indulgent when it comes to design, there’s enough for everybody.

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