Long Live Dcmts

This post is to commemorate the life of a good friend and a fellow collector and design historian who did a great public service not only to the graphic design community but to all modernist collectors and enthusiasts. He was the originator of the #thriftbreak tag which was one way of him looking to help out anyone in the collector world by creating a community to ID design pieces as well as a platform for people to share their finds. This is something that a lot of knowledgeable dealers would look down on. He believe in making design accessible to anyone and he documented his finds and research on his blog Ars Longa.

He later started New Documents AKA dcmnts which was an account created to share important 20th century graphic design objects as well as some pieces he was selling but eventually he closed his shop and decided to make it an archive of his personal collection which eventually led to a great exhibit called the Shape of Sound curated by him for Civilization which I wish I had seen in person. As a fellow blogger and researcher I know the amount of work it takes to acquire, research and document each piece and it’s important that people do that. Dcmnts is his imprint on design.

We connected very early on through this blog as we both were graphic designers collecting similar design ephemera as well as other modernist pieces of art, homewares, etc. We shared many conversations around it and we also traded records and book covers (even some punk tapes). At that time we might have been the only ones interested in Joseph Low‘s work when I first unearthed some records as we shared back and forward thoughts and pieces from our collections. He also contributed by sharing info and ID-ing many pieces on this blog.

Scott, passed away April 27, 2020 due to cancer. He was a kind and giving person and his work will endure in our minds (and in the hard drives of designers) and hopefully in the formation of future designers and enthusiasts as it provides a great source of design history. He donated his collection to The letterform Archive in San Francisco and will be available for viewing soon.

Rest in peace dear friend.

Here are a few records from his collection.

Cover design by Charles Murphy.
Cover design by S. Neil Fujita
Cover design by Josef Albers
Cover design by Saul Bass
Cover design by Rudolph de Harak

The Knight’s Café Menu

Ok, if you know me, you know I am a sucker for medieval themes and for that reason this is one of my favorite things in the ephemera drawer. I picked this guy a while ago and I don’t know much about the illustrator besides it being signed “Orbeck”. The only other piece of ephemera I can track on the internet is this Vacation home design booklet posted by Victor Underhill and blogged at midcenturymodernist.com (the illustration style doesn’t match but who knows. this is also around the year I found this which dates back to ’08, seems so long ago but whatever…The illustrations are so good though, I love the horses. The simplicity of the geometric shapes is just phenomenal. As usual, our digital age can’t compare to the real deal, this menu features two colors with different varnishes and overprints that are hard to capture on camera but it adds a lot to the piece.

The menu design is from The Knight’s Café by the chef James Friswold. A restaurant by Western International Hotels. No year listed, only the day Wednesday April 21 but I did a fun experiment and found out that April 21st landed on a Wednesday on 1965 and based on the other post found from the 60’s I think it’s safe to say that’s it. So there you go, thanks Google. Enjoy!

Japan Airlines

Here’s a booklet for Japan Airlines Courier Route that shows well, you guessed it, routes and data such as travel distances and all that. Also a luggage sticker that I found inside the booklet. The booklet inside isn’t all that exciting other than a map in the middle but I thought the cover was nice but the thing that really caught my eye was the sticker. That bird was just too cool to leave behind.
There is no year but my guess is that this is from the 1960’s.

Munich English Edition

Here’s a fantastic travel brochure for Munich. The building and people illustrations here are so whimsical and fun. Love the way the buildings and trees are shadowed, the people look like they are having fun sightseeing. My favorite part is that happy monk in the cover who appears to have a beer in one hand and flowers on the other (cheers to him). Most of the fun illustrations are on the outside (cover/back cover). The map on the inside has a different vibe but pieces of it do mimmic the outside. As usual with ephemera of the era, the use of spot colors give this piece that vibrancy that is often missing in today’s CMYK print. The brochure is from 1962 and the designer/illustrator is uncredited. Enjoy!

Thriumph of Neptune LP Cover by Herbert Leupin

Here’s another fun record designed by the wonderful modernist swiss designer, Herbert Leupin. It’s titled the Thriumph of Neptune. The illustration is very geometric and fun, it matches the style of the Peter and the Wolf Record I posted before. They could almost be displayed on a wall next to each other on a kids wall – Just saying. I hope you like this as much as I do. Enjoy!

Design: Herbert Leupin   |   Year: 1954   |   Photo: Javier García