The Penrose Annual 1958

The Penrose Annual was a showcase of printing and the graphics arts published between 1895 and 1982. Volume 52 (1958) is an extraordinary demonstration of craftmanship—and showmanship! Various examples of specialty printing techniques and paper stocks were submitted by printers from around the world throughout the year, and then bound in the annual. Newspaper samples, tipped-in illustrations, foldouts, inserts, spot colours... the Penrose is perhaps the single most inspiring example of graphic design and printing exuberance that I have seen in a long time—even if it is fifty years old!

In an article in Eye magazine, Steve Hare quotes one of the Penrose's editors: ‘The shaping and fabrication of every volume is an adventure,’ said its editor R. B. Fishenden, in the jubilee 50th edition of 1956. ‘Each is the outcome of a wonderful co-operative spirit – surely unique in a publishing endeavour – which seems to gain impetus in time.’

A large part of the attractiveness of Penrose Volume 52 is the era in which it was produced. I have always been drawn to the colours and design sensibilities of the mid- to late-fifties. My Dad restores old cars, and 1954 Fords were his ongoing projects when I still lived at home. Without a doubt, my love of the Royal Quiet DeLuxe typewriter (1956) is hereditary. {Check this out! An entire article about my Dad's history with cars. You never know what you'll find when you google your own parents.}

Ace Jet 170 is also fond of this particular Penrose edition, but he has photographed many pages that I have not, so between the two of us, you can get an even broader view of the volume. You can see larger images in the Flickr set I created for the Penrose. Thank you to McAra Printing for letting me borrow this annual. I've got my eye on a few other editions on their conference room shelf!

(This is a great colour combination, above.)

(I think this is what my design would look like if I were a graphic artist in the fifties. It's very UPPERCASE.)