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Art on Paper Since 1885

Posted by Will Hudson,

Earlier this week we were invited to view the work from the GFSmith archives in the impressive surroundings of 33 Portland Place, an eighteenth century London town house. Spanning 125 years the event documented over one hundred years of iconic design and marketing innovation by GFSmith including work by Saul Bass, Peter Saville, Sir Peter Blake, Milton Glaser and Rankin.

The hugely impressive archives are a real testament to the dedication GFSmith have shown towards paper stocks for such a long period of time and we caught up with James Groves to find out more about the event…

What’s the reason for the exhibition and what’s on display?

The event is about bringing people together to experience a different side of GFSmith. Many people are aware of our product ranges and services. We were very keen to show that we are an innovative business and their seemed no better way than to show this innovation through 125 years of history. The printed archives on display date back 111 years, however our archivist is discovering new pieces all the time.

Having spent time with the archives what are the most interesting pieces?

I personally think their are highlights in every case, new ways binding, folding, and multiple printing techniques. Our visitor comment book shows that their is no real clear winner in terms of a design favourite. That said the work in the 40s and 70s offers a real highlight for me, for their use of copywriting, illustration and typography.

As GFSmith move forward what can we look forward to from the next 125 years?

I think you’ll see a passionate company with a constant desire to innovate.

GFSmith Design Archives runs until Friday and is by appointment only, please contact event@gfsmith.com

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Posted by Will Hudson

Will founded It’s Nice That in 2007 and is now director of the company. Once one of the main contributors to the site he has stepped back from writing as the business has expanded. He is a regular guest on the Studio Audience podcast.