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Old 04-19-2006, 11:26 AM   #1
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Default Richard Eckersley died

Graphic designer Richard Eckersley died Sunday at 65. Richard Heller wrote an obituary about him for today’s New York Times.

Eckersley was born and studied in England, and is one of four generations of graphic designers. He was elected a Royal Designer for Industry for book design in 1999.

Unless you pay close attention to awards in design annuals — or buy a lot of academic texts from University of Nebraska Press, where he worked from 1981 until his death — you may not have heard of Eckersley.

But if you have run across his work, especially the more dramatically post-modernist designs during the 1980s and 90s, you probably would notice it, as he often pushed the limits. He was far from a grunge designer — he loved type and paid a lot of attention to setting it. But on the other hand, he tended to follow a policy I guess we can call appropriate readability, which sometimes would strike most of us as not too readable at all.

I have been rummaging on the web to see if I could find any illustration of his design work, and found only a thumbnail of a spread in what is possibly his most famous (most unusual, anyway) book design: Avital Ronel’s The Telephone Book (1989). The picture is small, but you can get the idea. (It was shown in a discussion of deconstruction as it relates to graphic design.)

His work was also discussed in Richard Hendel’s On Book Design, which may include some illustrations.

Eckersley was also one of six editors of the Glossary of Typesetting Terms (published in 1994 by the University of Chicago Press).

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