Vintage Irish Graphic Design

Posted inThe Daily Heller
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In the USA we don’t always think of Ireland when we think of modern book covers—great literature yes, but not covers or jackets. Yet not only does the emerald isle have a grand tradition, it has a website called Vintage Irish Book Covers, too.

Ireland also has a leading modernist book cover (and record cover) designer, Cor Klaasen, and next week an exhibition devoted to his work opens (November 3) at Adifferentkettleoffishaltogether, 18 Ormond Quay Upper.

The organizers say:

“We have been looking through the Klaasen family’s archive of Cor’s work and selecting the most interesting and striking pieces for inclusion in the show. The record sleeves alone will make this exhibition unmissable for anyone interested in graphic design, illustration and visual culture in general.

Klaasen was born in Amsterdam in 1926 and studied design at the Instituut voor Kunstnijverheids Onderwijs (IVKNO), now Rietveld Academie. He studied under Mart Stam, Wim Jaarsveld, Johan Niegeman and Piet Zimmerman, a number of the latter studied at the Bauhaus. After graduation he taught typesetting and layout at IVKNO (1945-1952).

He moved to Switzerland to work as an illustrator with a large co-operative organization and attended the Kunstgewerbeschule Basel. It was his intention to remain in Switzerland but in 1956 he moved to Ireland to work for O’Kennedy Brindley Advertising.

Klaasen had a prolific freelance practice, designing at least 170 book covers and 35 LP sleeves between 1958 and 1988. Here are some below.