Described recently as “one of the most important designers to come out of England in the last 50 years” Ken Garland thoroughly deserves a comprehensive monograph befitting his contribution to British design. Thankfully one of our favourite publishers, Unit Editions, have managed to brilliantly scratch that itch with Unit 09: Ken Garland – Structure and Substance.
It covers everything from student exercises in the 1950s to his self-published photography books of recent years, and touches on the many sides of Garland: the ethical and political designer; the writer; the teacher; the photographer. Produced with input from Garland the first 60 pages is a biographical essay, written by Adrian Shaughnessy and accompanied by rare personal photographs, underpinned by interviews with his contemporaries and peers.
The majority of the book is given over to showcasing a chronology of work – including posters for CND marches, the identity of Galt Toys, sleeves for RCA Records – boundary pushing graphic design the impact of which can still be seen today in much of what is considered “good” contemporary design.
Confession time… other than the 1964 First Things First Manifesto, I was woefully uneducated about the life and work of Ken Garland. No longer! This book is a great introduction to the impact of Mr Garland and its slightly more compact size (than the Lubalin unit) means its a beautiful piece to handle. One to treat yourself to especially if you’re suffering from the January blues and a worthy addition to any designers collection.
Author: Adrian Shaughnessy
Editors: Tony Brook and Adrian Shaughnessy