Standards Manual is back with its tenth title, exploring pre-internet communication
This time, the Brooklyn-based publisher is venturing into the history of radio communication, sharing a collection of QSL cards collated by designer Roger Bova.
- Liz Gorny
- 13 October 2022
You know the drill by now. If it’s a Standards Manual release, it’s sure to be beautifully designed – and its tenth title continues to exceed expectations. QSL? (Do You Confirm Receipt of My Transmission?) is the title of the newest release. With it, Standards Manual co-founders Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth share a collection of 150 QSL cards, a form of postcard exchanged between radio amateurs – or ham radio users – to confirm an on-air contact. The selection is collated by designer Roger Bova, who began the research after finding a stack of QSL cards at an antique store in upstate New York.
Though the visual history of QSL seems somewhat niche, this is not the first book to revisit the media recently. Last year, Antwan Horfee revealed some of his near 3,000-strong collection of QSL cards with the publication, Buzzard Control: A book about QSL cards culture. Published by TopSafe, the book highlighted the graphic legacy and history of the media, displaying memorabilia up to the 1980s.
For Standards Manual’s look at QSL cards, the publisher is celebrating their typographic expression; they were often produced by radio operators themselves, with broad results – “some minimal, others maximal, hand-drawn, photographic, or a hybrid of media”, a Standards Manual press release explains. The collection also features the call-sign of the late Charles Hellman, one of the longest licensed radio amateurs in the US. Content in QSL? is organised chronologically. In some places, card details have been enlarged – sometimes at 500–600 per cent scale – a decision “the publishers thought designers, archivists, and radio-enthusiasts would particularly appreciate”, the release states.
QSL? is the latest in a long line of subjects explored by Standards Manual. Past titles have looked into park brochure design, the origins of the emoji in 90s Japan, and 400 objects relating to New York City Transit. Explore the newest release from the publisher at the Standards Manual site here.
GalleryStandards Manual: QSL? (Do You Confirm Receipt of My Transmission?), from the collection of Roger Bova (Copyright © Standards Manual, 2022)
Standards Manual: QSL? (Do You Confirm Receipt of My Transmission?), from the collection of Roger Bova (Copyright © Standards Manual, 2022)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, she worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.