Scanning Around With Gene: Turning 25 in 69

Over the years, one of my favorite design publications has been Graphis, the international journal of graphic arts and applied arts. The publication began in Switzerland in 1944 and, for most of its life, was a six-times-a-year magazine supplemented by annuals and special editions. Graphis, which is now headquartered in New York, still publishes a variety of products, though the bimonthly magazine was discontinued in 2004.
Recently I came across issue 145 of Graphis from 1969/1970, which celebrated the 25th anniversary of the magazine. As part of the commemoration, Graphis founding editor Walter Herdeg asked designers around the world to send in illustrations of the number 25. The results are a terrific collection of illustrative styles of the time (though many seem timeless). The cover of that issue was done by Jan Lenica.

Click on any image for a larger version.
The next two are from Hans Hillmann and Milton Glaser.

In 1969 I was in eighth grade and had little sense of design, though I did produce the class yearbook using colored mimeograph stencils. My dad helped me silkscreen the covers.
The next images are from Seymour Chwast and Ronald Searle.

These four are from Imre Reiner, Antonio Frasconi, Tomi Ungerer, and Jean-Michel Folon.

These three are from Etienne Delessert, Paul Davis, and Kurt Wirth.

My favorite 25 is from designers Herb Lubalin and Tom Carnase, who clearly knew how to use a French curve. Lubalin and Carnesse are responsible for the typeface Avant Garde, among many others.

1969 was a wild year and many of these designs reflect the psychedelic/op-art style popular at the time. I had several black lights and fluorescent posters in my room, including one of Peter Fonda on his motorcycle from the film Easy Rider.
These 25s are from Celestino Piatti, Max Schmid, Yusaku Kamekura and Josef Flejsar.

And these are from Roman Cieslewicz and Franco Grignani.

The number 25 is an interesting one — the two characters share many of the same lines, and several of the artists highlighted those similarities. These are from André François and Pino Tovaglia.

These final 25s are from Robert Aeschlimann and Massimo Vignelli.

I do have many fond memories of 1969 and now I know a little more about the graphic style of the time. Thanks, Graphis.
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Gene Gable has spent a lifetime in publishing, editing and the graphic arts and is currently a technology consultant and writer. He has spoken at events around the world and has written extensively on graphic design, intellectual-property rights, and publishing production in books and for magazines such as Print, U&lc, ID, Macworld, Graphic Exchange, AGI, and The Seybold Report. Gene's interest in graphic design history and letterpress printing resulted in his popular columns "Heavy Metal Madness" and "Scanning Around with Gene" here on
  • ajasys says:

    I turned 16 in February that year. What a perfect time to be a teenager: Free love, women burning their bras, the moon landing…

    Your favorite is 2nd on my ballot, as I find the one that uses Roman numerals as suspenders to be visually pleasing – as well as beautifully representative of the year 1969.

    As I’ve noted many times over the 11 years I’ve spent here @ CreativePro, thanks for the memories, Gene!

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Sanity is a relative concept.
    If you don’t believe me,
    let me introduce my relatives.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

  • Anonymous says:

    I swear there’s something to the idea of a “universal mind.” Before I had seen this post, I had a nagging urge to unearth my two copies of “Graphis Annual.” These books offered artists the ultimate exposure during that era. All of the art was mostly constructed using the tools of the trade, plus, the implementation of pantone papers, films, typographic transfer sheets, and dark room tricks.
    R. Smith
    Art Institute of Pgh. Alumni, 1973-76.

  • Anonymous says:

    But I thought most of those weren’t very good at all.

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