Edward McKnight Kauffer (1890-1954) was the most celebrated graphic designer working in Britain in the twentieth century.
Born in Montana, he left America before the first world war to travel throughout Europe absorbing the influences of the Cubists and the German poster artist Ludwig Hohlwein.
At the onset of war, he settled in London. Seeing himself as a painter, he allied himself with the London Group and the Vorticists.
He worked at Roger Fry's Omega Workshops with Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant and in 1915 was commissioned by Frank Pick, then the publicity manager at London Underground.
This was the beginning of a client designer relationship that lasted throughout the 1920s and '30s only ending when Kauffer returned to New York in 1940.
His posters, brilliantly coloured and strikingly modern, struck London like a Cubist thunderbolt.
Soon other clients, Jack Beddington at Shell, Sir Colin Anderson at the Orient Shipping line, the "Daily Herald" (the instantly recognisable "Birds in Flight" poster), and the Post Office were commissioning posters, brochures, book covers and illustrations. The V&A began collecting Kauffer's posters in 1915 and he was given a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1937. "E. McKnight Kauffer, Design" contains over 150 illustrations, many from original artworks, and work not before reproduced, with descriptions by Brian Webb and an introductory essay by Peyton Skipwith. "E. McKnight Kauffer, Design" contains over 150 illustrations, many from original artworks, and work not before reproduced.
With descriptions by Brian Webb and an introductory essay by Peyton Skipwith.
The "Design" series is the winner of the Brand/Series Identity Category at the British Book Design and Production Awards 2009, judges said: 'A series of books about design, they had to be good and these are.
The branding is consistent, there is a good use of typography and the covers are superb.'
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 96 pages, 150col.
- Publisher: ACC Art Books
- Publication Date: 15/04/2007
- Category: Individual designers
- ISBN: 9781851495207