New book chronicles the glory days of airline visuals

Airline Identity Boeing

Once upon a time flying wasn’t such a hassle.

At its height the airline industry was the bees knees of postwar culture. From the mid-forties to the the mid-seventies flying was the way to go.

The world got smaller as new opportunities and possibilities connected the four corners of the globe.

It was also a time of some stunning graphic design. The posters and printed detritus that accompanied the golden age of air travel mark a high-spot in the history of advertising  and corporate design.

Airline Identity TWA

It is the graphic side of these times that M. C. Hühne chronicles in Airline Visual Identity 1945-1975.  

This monster of a book (in both heft – it weighs 14 pounds and price – it retails for $400) provides a comprehensive look at the “visual identities of the world’s greatest airlines presented in a book of extraordinary beauty”

The book “pushes the limits of modern art printing technology” using seventeen different colors, five different varnishes, and two different methods of foil printing and embossing.”

Airline Identity Pan Am


Forged by some of the best creative minds of the time, such as designers like Ivan Chermayeff, Otl Aicher, Massimo Vignellli, Academy Award winner Saul Bass, as well as advertising luminaries like Mary Wells Lawrence, the artwork found in Airline Visual Identity: 1945-1975 illustrates the shift from traditional methods of corporate design and advertising to comprehensive modern identity branding programs generally introduced in the 1960’s.


Airline Identity BOAC


Airline Identity United


Airline Identity Air France

Airline Identity cover

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Of Interest: New Poetry, The Little Free Library Book, Steve Jobs and Philosophy and more

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collected poemas of Frank StanfordWhat About This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford

By the time he took his own life at age 29 Frank Stanford had already published 10 books of poetry and a collection of short stories; none of them are easy to find. He also left behind a mountain of manuscripts. Now thanks to Copper Canyon Press we have a  long overdue, comprehensive retrospective that collects from all of Stanford’s previously published work, together with unpublished manuscripts,ungathered poems, and carefully chosen drafts and fragments.

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This Present Moment SnyderThis Present Moment: New Poems by Gary Snyder

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hitchcock-wounded-alphabet-01The Wounded Alphabet: Collected Poems of George Hitchcock

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The Wounded Alphabet collects over five decades of writing and contains twelve early collages that illustrate his ongoing painterly obsession with the juxtaposition of images.

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Clash by NightClash by Night. Edited by Gerry LaFemina and Gregg Wilhelm

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Life from ScratchLife from Scratch: a memoir of food, family, and forgiveness by Sasha Martin.

Martin, best known for her massive culinary undertaking of cooking a meal from every country in the world and living to tell about, opens up about her upbringing and the impact her global culinary adventure had on her family relationships.

Published by National Geographic.

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Little Free Library BookThe Little Free Library Book by Margret Aldrich

It started as a simple idea to promote literacy and encourage community but those Little Free Libraries now number more than 20,000 in 75 countries and showcase some very creative designs too boot!

Published by Coffee House Press.

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Steve Jobs and PhilosophySteve Jobs and Philosophy: For Those That Think Different Edited by Shawn E. Klein

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Burning Down George Orwell's HouseBurning Down George Orwell’s House by Andrew Ervin

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Debut novel. Published by Soho Press.

Pre-order Powell’sAmazon

Jack Kerouac: A Birthday Salute

On the Road First EditionFirst Edition of the On the Road, 1957

Today is the birthday of Jack Kerouac. Best known as the father of The Beat Generation his spontaneous prose style changed the game, bringing a fresh approach to the novel. Kerouac’s iconic status shows no signs of letting up. All is books are still in print and his masterpiece On the Road remains a defining work of the postwar Beat and Counterculture generations.

On his spontaneous writing style:

Many of his books exemplified the spontaneous approach, including On the Road, Visions of Cody, Visions of Gerard, Big Sur, and The Subterraneans. The central features of this writing method were the ideas of breath (borrowed from Jazz and from Buddhist meditation breathing), improvising words over the inherent structures of mind and language, and not editing a single word (much of his work was edited by Donald Merriam Allen, a major figure in Beat Generation poetry who edited some of Ginsberg’s work as well). Connected with his idea of breath was the elimination of the period, preferring to use a long, connecting dash instead. As such, the phrases occurring between dashes might resemble improvisational jazz licks. When spoken, the words might take on a certain kind of rhythm, though none of it pre-meditated

To celebrate, here’s a look at some Kerouac material currently floating around the marketplace.


Kerouac Gerards Deliverance

Original painting of Kerouac’s sainted brother Gerard by Jack Kerouac, 1962. Signed “Kerouac” in upper left hand corner of painting in paint, signed “Jean-Louis Kerouac” in pen on back of canvas. Offered by beat book shop.

Visions of Cody inscribed by Ginsberg

Copy of Kerouac’s Visions of Cody inscribed by Allen Ginsberg, who wrote the introduction, to his lover Peter Orlowsky. McGraw-Hill, 1972. Offered by Peter Harrington

The mantra in the inscription is adapted from the so-called Heart Sutra Dance (Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha – Going, Always Going, Going Beyond, Further Beyond, Completely Gone to Buddhahood, Svaha – So Be It) and relates almost too perfectly to the great scandal which would eventually lead to Nixon’s demise.

Dharma Bums

Dharma Bums. Viking, 1958. First Edition, First Printing. Offered by Burnside Rare Books.

Subterraneans poster lobby cards

Lobby cards and one sheet made to promote the film adaptation of The Subterraneans. Despite being produced by a major movie studio and starring famous actors Leslie Caron and George Peppard the movie was a financial flop. Allen Ginsberg derided it for its two dimensional characters and shallow portrayal of the beat culture. Offered by Aquila Books.

Kerouac Wake Up

Wake Up. Penguin Books, 2008. First printing of the UK edition.   Introduction by Robert Thurber.  First publication of Kerouac’s life of the Buddha, published on the 50th anniversary of Dharma Bums. Offered by Book Patrol.

Kerouac Broadside

Broadside which has excerpts from his poem, “Orizaba 210 Blues.” This is the scarce, limited edition broadside with a superb wood cut illustration by Kenneth Patchen. “Printed by Kriya Press of Sri Ram Ashrama, Pleasant Valley, New York, 1968.” Limited edition of one hundred copies of which this is number 85. Offered by Nudelman Rare Books.

Book of Dreams

Book of Dreams. City Lights Books, 1961. First Edition First issue. Cover photo of Jack Kerouac by Robert Frank. Offered by Quintessential Rare Books.

Top image:  a beautiful copy of the first edition of On The Road offered by Captain Ahab’s Rare Books.

Jack Kerouac’s Birthday | Allen Ginsberg Project