Thames & Hudson publishes a monograph of iconic artist Peter Blake, featuring best-known works and over 30 typefaces
Made in partnership with Fedrigoni UK and Praline, the book compiles an overview of the artist’s influential career, plus a forward from David Hockney and essay from Patrick Elliott.
- Ayla Angelos
- 10 June 2021
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
The iconic work of Peter Blake – a British pop artist best known for his collage pieces – has been compiled into a new monograph, published by Thames & Hudson and made in partnership with Waddington Custot, on Fedrigoni paper and designed by Praline. Featuring an in-depth look into the artist’s career, the monograph, aptly titled Peter Blake: Collage also features a forward from Blake’s school friend David Hockney, along with an essay by Patrick Elliott.
A key figure in pop art, Blake has reached acclaim for his paintings, collages and prints, including the sleeve design for the Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heats Club Band, alongside cover for The Who, Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas, and also the 2012 Brit Award statuette. Within Peter Blake: Collage, the artist’s work is brought to the fore and is accompanied with colourful imagery that seeks to document his influential contribution to the medium.
In order to reflect his decades-long career, the teams behind the book decided to structure the contents in order of themes, basing it on a “loosely chronological” order, as described by the monograph’s editor, Clare Preston. “Consequently, this idea shaped itself into 20 unique sections and each section needed a heading,” adds David Tanguy, founder and creative director at Praline. “We wanted to come at it with a fresh approach and took inspiration from Peter’s love of typography. Why limit ourselves to one typeface when Peter in his own work would never do this?”
As such, the book comprises over 30 typefaces across each of its sections, all of which are inspired by the artist’s own library. “We then started to research and test typefaces that were either present in Peter’s work or were selected in the spirit of what we felt he would like,” adds David, “and after getting his positive feedback, we felt confident enough to continue with this approach.”
Each section title and heading is different, while the rest of the monograph has been designed with one font only, “in one weight, for all of the text,” adds David. “We created a hierarchy by changing the colour of the text rather than introducing another weight of type, i.e. Light, Regular or Medium.” In this sense, colour plays an important role in the design of the publication, which sits harmoniously amongst bespoke photography of Blake’s studio which was commissioned especially for the book. Blake’s Chiswick-based studio is home to over 50,000 items, such as model ships, a dresser stocked with hats and a model railway collection. “We’ve been long-time admirers of Rail Alphabet, designed by Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert,” says David, "and knowing Peter’s love of railways, signage and British culture, we saw an opportunity to use A2-Type’s New Rail Alphabet for all the body copy in the book.”
The typefaces used in Peter Blake: Collage are influenced by the life work of the artist. For example, the font used in an Elvis Christmas card “was included in an artwork Peter had assembled from his abundance of Elvis memorabilia,” explains David. In Targets and Flags, a section in the monograph, the typeface is inspired by Blake completing his National Service in the RAF as a teleprinter operator in the early 1950s. “We then conducted some research to see what typefaces were being used in the RAF at that time,” says David. “From this research, we found a typographic solution for Targets and Flags that ties directly into his own experiences, but is not referenced in any of Peter’s works.”
Turning to the cover, the hardback depicts a collection of geometric shapes that reference the key works detailed throughout the book. Reds, blues, greens and yellows are colours that the artist employs throughout his own artworks and “continues to use repeatedly in his work,” says David. “The typography for the cover was chosen for its slight imperfections – it’s our own redrawing of Caslon Egyptian.” All of which is packaged in seven Fedrigoni print materials, as Ian Braithwaite, commercial manager of Fedrigoni UK explains: “Like the multifaceted nature of collage itself, a broad selection of Fedrigoni papers were chosen for this monograph. From uncoated to glossy materials, from black and white to bright and colourful shades, Praline were determined to reflect the textural richness of Blake’s work through the diversity of our papers.”
The publication of Peter Blake: Collage will coincide with the opening of a new solo survey exhibition at Waddington Custot in London, Peter Blake: Time Traveller, which includes a number of important museum loans.
Peter Blake: Collage published by Thames & Hudson in association with Waddington Custot, £50.00
Peter Blake: Time Traveller runs at Waddington Custot, London from 18 June–13 August 2021
GalleryPraline: Peter Blake, Collage; published by Thames & Hudson (Copyright © Praline, 2021)
Praline: Peter Blake, Collage; published by Thames & Hudson (Copyright © Praline, 2021)
About the Author
Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent the last seven years as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.